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Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas #12

Today was another kaleidoscope of weather! Hail, rain, sunshine, the lot! I still haven’t work out what the finches are that are gathering on the wreath I made for them. They have a wide black stripe from their head, over their eyes and down their wings.

The Society of Genealogists 12 days of Christmas, concludes with 12 Drummers Drummed up excitement for the release of the 1921 Census.

I think most genealogists with English or Welsh ancestry are looking forward to tomorrow! There has been much debate about the costs of viewing the 1921 census (£2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image.) but it is comparable with the 1939 Register and 1911 census when they were first released. An immense amount of work has gone into scanning, transcribing and indexing the records so that we can use them. Personally I think the costs are reasonable, and in the not too distant future the census will be included in the FindMyPast subscription and eventually on other websites too.

Like, I suspect, many genealogists, I have a list of people I will be looking for tomorrow, including two of my grandparents. I just hope that https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ can cope and doesn’t crash.

On the twelfth day of 12 Days Wild I went out at dusk to try to take pictures of both the sunset and a starling murmuration. Unfortunately the starlings really didn’t seem to want to leave the tree this afternoon. They were very loud though, lots of chatter.

I have a Beanies Coffee 12 Days of Christmas calendar. Finally Day 12 was another Salted Caramel flavoured “All-in-One”. It would be nice to think that these will all get used when I travel in 2022. Fingers crossed.

Christmas is all packed up, and as soon as the Christmas jumpers, socks, doormat and facemasks have been through the wash everything will be back in the loft ready for next year. My Christmas tree is acclimatising to the outdoor world with a few days in an unheated greenhouse. It has been fun, and I’m ready to begin my studies and work.

Categories
Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas #11

We had hail today, and blue skies, and rain. One of those four seasons in a couple of hours type days. I watched the birds on the various feeders outside my office window. I only have to look up from my computer and I can see them. I’ve spotted blue tits and sparrows today. A group of 4 or 5 little birds that looked like sparrows but with longer tails spent some time on the wreath I made.

The Society of Genealogists 12 days of Christmas, continues with Eleven Pipers Piped in Ireland. They take the opportunity to remind us that the SoG library contains many copies and transcripts of Irish records made prior to the fire that destroyed so much in 1922. Incredibly useful for anyone with Irish ancestry.

On the eleventh day of 12 Days Wild I finally found some fungus!

I went for a walk through Criccieth, where hidden away there is a delightful space dedicated to nature. I found the fungus there. I know it is some sort of bracket fungus but I had to do some research to learn more.

With some help from Google and the Wildlife Trusts website I am fairly sure that I found turkeytail, or Trametes versicolor. Apparently it has been used to decorate both tables and hats!

I have a Beanies Coffee 12 Days of Christmas calendar. Day 11 was two more favourites: Cinnamon Hazelnut and Irish Coffee. I used up the Christmas Baileys cream in the latter. Yum.

Well tomorrow the Christmas decorations come down, and then my new boss says I have to start concentrating on studying and setting up a business. I have a Pharos course in Apprentice Records starting tomorrow and Strathclyde term begins on Friday.

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Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas #10

We finally had sunny weather today. Hooray! It was a pleasure to go for a walk and I bumped into several neighbours making the most of it.

The Society of Genealogists 12 days of Christmas, continues with Ten Lords were a-Leaping Round the Peerage. As far as I know none of my ancestry made it into Burke’s Peerage. How about you?

On the tenth day of 12 Days Wild I continued the winter scavenger hunt provided by The Wildlife Trusts which I had begun at the weekend. I still don’t think I have any chance of finding snowdrops or frost.

The sunshine meant that there was finally a chance to see clouds against a blue sky, rather than just a wall of grey. I thought I could see an elephant’s face.

It has been ages since I have seen a robin or spider, but I will keep looking. I finally caught a starling murmuration on camera, but you will need to look closely!

I have a Beanies Coffee 12 Days of Christmas calendar. Day 10 was my favourite Gingerbread and my least favourite Coconut Delight.

Whilst I was out I also tried to take some “then and now” pictures of Pentrefelin. You can see the “then” on the Francis Frith website: https://www.francisfrith.com/pentrefelin/photos. How do you think I did?

A lot has changed in both scenes. The Post Office is now just a family home, where about seventy years ago a phone box and petrol pump can be seen. The Church Room has disappeared behind a newer house and the trees lining the lane have gone, with just a few stumps remaining.

Categories
My family Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas #2

Fortunately no turtle doves have yet arrived, I dread to think what our cats Domino, Scrabble and Ludo would make of them.

The Society of Genealogists are sharing their own 12 days of Christmas, with Two Turtle Doves in India, Sarah Dove and Ellen Barons Dove. I had a a look at the ‘Women in India index’ but could not find any record of the Wadsworth family that I know visited India in 1940s.

For the second day of 12 Days Wild and I created a Nature Mandela. Instructions from the Wildlife Trust are here. I also encountered sheep being taken from one farm to another to be scanned.

I have a Beanies Coffee 12 Days of Christmas calendar. Day 2 was Mint Chocolate “All-in-One” which I have put aside with my travel kettle. I’m really hoping for an opportunity to use it in 2022.

As promised I spent some time catching up with my #52 Ancestors blog today.

Categories
Beginnings My family Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas #1

I’m pleased to say I have not received a Partridge in a Pear Tree, though I have received some lovely gifts, including a Harry Potter knitted jumper which I’m delighted with.

Apologies for radio silence in December. It has been an exciting and emotional month. I handed in my notice at Ffestiniog Travel. 17 years is a long time to work anywhere and I was sad to say goodbye but returning to the office after 18 months on furlough convinced me that it is time to move on. I will still be doing some tour leading, hopefully taking a group to Mallorca to explore the narrow gauge railways and trams in 2022. I have always enjoyed the job and the people, but I would always regret it if I didn’t give genealogy a try.

I’ve decided to follow the career advice of Katharine Whitehorn, a British journalist:

‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.’
Observer, 1975

The Society of Genealogists are sharing their own 12 days of Christmas, beginning today with Partridge in a Pear Tree, or their version, a Partridge in PCC Admons. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

I am joining in 12 Days Wild and I began by walking off Christmas lunch, just enjoying the peace and quiet outside today. I found some festive Pokemon as well as festive plants. The road was surprisingly busy but the sky looked amazing.

I have a Beanies Coffee 12 Days of Christmas calendar. I do enjoy a flavoured coffee, but don’t like the sweetness of syrups so these are just right. Today I have Nutty Hazelnut and Orange Chocolate flavoured coffees.

As well as my sibling Max having their birthday today we have a surprising number of ancestors with Christmas Day birthdays.

  • 3rd great grandmother Jane Diamond was born today in 1839. She lived in Cumberland, now part of the Lake District. In 1905 she was living at Rainors Farm.
  • Her mother-in-law, my 4th great grandmother Ann Stewardson, was born today in 1810. She also spent her entire life in the Lake District.
  • On the same day my 3rd great granduncle Christopher Thomas Wadworth was born in Wickersley, West Yorkshire.

I plan to spend the rest of the 12 days of Christmas catching up with #52Ancestors and setting up Rhos Helyg Family History Services.

Categories
My family Pentrefelin

52 Ancestors: Week 21 – At the Cemetery

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing …. I could blame my University course, but term finished a month ago. I have just been doing other things.

Most genealogists and family historians will find any excuse for a wander around a cemetery. There is a wealth of information in cemeteries. To give something back to the genealogy community I am transcribing the memorials in two local graveyards Tabor Chapel and Ynyscynhaiarn Church. I will add them to Find-A-Grave when I find time too.

I do like the Welsh tradition of putting address on gravestones, so useful to us when this information has been forgotten. I hadn’t realised it was a particularly Welsh thing to do until I was looking for a geocache in my Mum’s local churchyard in Kent. We spotted one gravestone with an address:

St Mary the Virgin churchyard High Halden, Ashford, Kent
In Loving Memory of
Catherine Poulton
the wife of
William Williams of Gates
High Halden
Born 4th April 1845 Died 5th April 1917
Also of William Williams
Born 31 July 1842 Died 23rd Oct 1931
Thank you to Mum, Vera Hopkinson, for this picture.

William Williams of Gates Farm, High Halden sounds to have Welsh connections, and the Welsh tradition of an address on the memorial inscription has been followed.

Years ago I spent some time exploring the churchyard at St Alban’s Wickersley where many of my Downes and Wadsworth ancestors were buried. My 3rd great grandparents moved to Wickersley around 1835 and had 13 children in total.

Sacred
to the memory of
George
Son of John and
Martha Downs
Who departed this life
October 20th 1839.
Aged 2 years and 6 weeks
Also William their son
who departed this life
June 21st 1841 aged 2 years
Also Henry John Grayson
their son who departed this
life Nov 20th 1846 aged 10 years
and 10 months.
Also Caroline their daughter
who departed this life
April 14th 1848 aged 1 year and
11 months.

I find this gravestone heart-breaking. To lose one child must be horrendous. To lose four children in nine years just does not bear thinking about.

Sacred
to the memory of
Benjamin Roberts
who died March 24th 1826
aged 43 years
also John son of the above
died July 27 1810
aged 1 year and 9 months
also Sarah wife of
Richard Oliver and relict of the above named
she died Nov 9th 1857 aged 72 years.

This gravestone, for my 4th great grandparents Benjamin and Sarah Roberts confused me. Benjamin Roberts was born in about 1782 and was baptised in Bramley near Wickersley, West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1806 he married Sarah Dawson, who was baptised in Tickhill in 1783. They had at least four children between 1808 and 1822, but as seen on the gravestone Benjamin died in 1826 aged 43.

Sarah married Richard Oliver on 24th December 1832 in the Cathedral Church of St Peter & St Paul, Sheffield. He was about 27 years old and she was 49 years old. Sarah died 15 years later and was buried with her first husband.

Richard Oliver went on to marry Benjamin and Sarah’s daughter Ann, his step-daughter. Ann already had an 8 year old illegitimate son, John, my 2nd great-grandfather.

I can’t help wondering what gossip there was around Richard Oliver, Sarah and Ann. Why did they both marry him? And of course, who was John Robert’s father?

You never know what you will find at the cemetery, and it is always worth looking for your ancestors gravestones.

Categories
My family Pentrefelin

52 Ancestors: Week 17 – Favourite Place


I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. This week the prompt is “Favourite Place”.

It was easy to decide where to write about this week. My favourite place to research is Wirksworth in Derbyshire. I wish more of my ancestors had lived there. This is because of the AMAZING One Place Study which has been carried out by John Palmer over 20 years. I love spending time on the Wirksworth website on www.wirksworth.org.uk.

Taken about 1905 by James Watterson, scan sent by David Fawcett. Watterson was standing near OS ref: SK 287-548, possibly on the bridge taking the railway over Old Lane, looking South. St Mary’s Church tower can be faintly seen, the Town Hall tower, the railway and the bridge near the station. Wirksworth website on http://www.wirksworth.org.uk

There are records from all over Derbyshire so I have been able to find out about my Belper and Crich ancestors on the website and it has saved me many hours trawling through records on other websites. I can only dream that one day my Pentrefelin website will be as useful to others.

As well as the expected transcriptions of parish records, memorial inscriptions and census records the website collects huge numbers of pictures of the area surrounding Wirksworth as well as some more obscure records which I have not seen elsewhere.

My third great-grandfather Joseph Ellis was farming Clips Head Farm in Brassington in at the end of the nineteenth century. His wife and mother are both buried in Brassington church yard. Thanks to the Wirksworth website I can see the village and church as they would have done.

Brassington Church on a postcard posted in 1906. Wirksworth website on http://www.wirksworth.org.uk

It is easy to have ideas of things that I would like to add to my Pentrefelin pages, but harder to find the time to complete the pages I have begun. The Wirksworth website is an inspiration and I am in awe of the dedication involved in creating it.

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Operation Bletchley Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas, day 11

Over the 12 Days of Christmas, as we leave 2020 behind and step into 2021 I have 3 challenges in progress.

  • 12 Days Wild, to complete a daily “random act of wildness” exploring the winter wildlife.
  • Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin 24 MILES: 12 CODES: 12 DAYS. A fundraising challenge for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity which involves walking and codebreaking
  • Building the Lego Hogwarts Castle kit, my Christmas present to myself.

Yesterday I completed the 24 miles for Operation Bletchley which leaves me two full days to solve the final codes and accomplish my mission. The final codes arrived first thing this morning and I solved Junior level early on.

I am determined to complete at least Codebreaker level and maybe Cypher Expert level too. I have a Zoom with Mum later on to put our heads together. I cracked the 11th Codebreaker level this afternoon, but I need the 10th in order to solve the final code. I’m getting there, but not managed it yet. I am trying very hard not to give any spoilers as I know that a few other Operation Bletchley agents are reading my blog and not everyone has yet completed the walking, so still have the last few codes to arrive.

For my random act of wildness today I went for a short walk, and picked up some of the litter lying along the side of the road. We don’t get too much here, but sometimes bits and pieces blow out of the recycling bins before they are collected. There is even less around now so I feel I’ve done a “good thing”.

I’m also cracking on with the Lego, I would quite like the space in the office back so I have decided to leave the genealogy work for another day or two until I have completed the castle. Almost there! I just completed instruction number 288 of 326 and there don’t look to be too many pieces left in the box now.

I’m looking forward to working out how the two main pieces connect together.

In readiness for twelfth night my other main job today was to take down the Christmas decorations. I think I’ve found everything!

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Operation Bletchley Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas, day 10


Over the 12 Days of Christmas, as we leave 2020 behind and step into 2021 I have 3 challenges in progress.

  • 12 Days Wild, to complete a daily “random act of wildness” exploring the winter wildlife.
  • Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin 24 MILES: 12 CODES: 12 DAYS. A fundraising challenge for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity which involves walking and codebreaking
  • Building the Lego Hogwarts Castle kit, my Christmas present to myself.

Today has flown by. Tony was back at work. He works from home so it isn’t really a change but he’s in the workshop rather than around the house. So, it seemed the right time to try to return to normal, whatever normal is after so many months of furlough.

I’ve added a wedding and a tombstone to my website, transcribed a will for my own research (very boring, everything left to his wife and no mention of the family owned cinemas) and started to catch up with laundry and other mundane tasks

Two more sets of codes arrived for Operation Bletchley. I’ve managed Junior level but not even got my head around Codebreaker level never mind the Cryptic level! That’s got to be my priority tomorrow, as well as getting the Christmas decorations down.

I walked the final two miles so should receive the final set of codes tomorrow morning. I’ve scheduled a Zoom call with Mum to work through the those that we’re stuck on. I’ll be very upset if we don’t manage at least Codebreaker level. Walking up the hill still felt like quite an effort today. Clearly I need to make a point of walking that direction more often. I took the right fork rather than the left today. The views are again worth the effort. I love where we live!

The sea is just about visible

We’ve got another announcement from the Prime Minister looming later this evening. Whether it will be relevant to us here in Wales is yet to be seen. Clearly we aren’t going back to normal any time soon.

I’ve barely done any Lego today. I’ve not yet decided whether to set aside a big chunk of time and get it finished it whether to plod on doing a little at a time.

For my random act of wildness today I put the bird boxes back up. We took them down in the autumn as they were literally full of wasp nest.

The bird box in the summer! Full of wasp nest.
Cleaned and replaced.

The #52Ancestors writing prompts for January have arrived in my inbox and I made a start on thinking what and who to write about for those. Some may require a little more research to know what I want to say.

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Operation Bletchley Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas, day 9


Over the 12 Days of Christmas, as we leave 2020 behind and step into 2021 I have 3 challenges in progress.

  • 12 Days Wild, to complete a daily “random act of wildness” exploring the winter wildlife.
  • Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin 24 MILES: 12 CODES: 12 DAYS. A fundraising challenge for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity which involves walking and codebreaking
  • Building the Lego Hogwarts Castle kit, my Christmas present to myself.

I decided that my “wild” challenge today would be to check on the various wildlife homes around our garden. The birdboxes, which housed bees or wasps this summer, have already been taken down and cleaned. We’ll put them back up in early spring. The birdbath I noticed was full and looked reasonably clean.

We have a number of insect houses dotted around, two were birthday presents last summer, the others more established and I noticed plenty of use over the summer. We also have a bat box, which was a wedding present. I’ve not actually seen a bat use it, but we do see bats flying around the garden so I suspect it does provide some shelter.

I managed to get quite a lot of Lego done, both last night and this morning, and now have completed classrooms and work is well underway on the other wing. I had thought I might finish it today, but I think it will take at least until tomorrow.

Late morning I put a few of the leftover chocolates in my pocket and headed out. I first walked to the war memorial (I have run out of Pokeballs so spinning the Pokestop was vital today!), and back towards the house, which ticked off my first mile.

I then set off up the hill in a direction I haven’t walked since beginning the Operation Bletchley challenge. I caught up with some neighbours and walked a little way together, but I turned left and they carried on. I continued for another mile up the hill. It was tough and I had to tell myself just keep putting one front in front of the other. The views were well worth it though, and the mile back down to the house was much easier.

So three miles chalked up in total today and hopefully two sets of codes will arrive tomorrow morning. I am aiming to receive the final set of codes with plenty of time to work out the final answers before midnight on 6th January.

I solved the 9th Junior and Codebreaker levels without much difficulty, but the Cypher Expert is baffling me for now. I’ll come back to it!