Monday, 1 February 2016

"Grandpa doesn't really look like his dad"

On the train home from work tonight I checked my email and was happy to see that the NAA had finally completed digitisation of the Naturalisation papers I requested. When I got in I immediately fed the cat (I value my life too much to not feed her straight away) and then grabbed my laptop. 

Happy became grinning stupidly. Then ringing my mother at quarter to nine at night to inform her that grandpa doesn't really look like her grandpa. Which she knew. But anyway. A nice chat later I've hung up and looked at my grandpa (her dad's) papers. 

Yep. Back on the phone.

"Grandpa's mum's name is Francesca Josephina and she was Maltese" 

Sometimes, it is the little things that make you ridiculously happy. Like working out your Mum was kind of named for her grandmother :)

Friday, 1 January 2016

Fish in a barrel; or why small populations are brilliant

I will admit that everything fell to the wayside last year when I found myself working full time with a 3hr round trip daily commute. I love my job but doesn't leave much time for anything other than sleep and housework on the weekends. So with a week or so off at the end of December/beginning of January I was looking forward to settling in and getting some prime genealogy and crafting time in. If I have a limited number of days to devote to research I really want the most bang for my buck.

Now this is Shetland. Current population: 25,000ish. Historic population: about the same.

Shetland UK relief location map

The biggest island; that's Mainland. The one directly above it; that's Yell. Current population: 800ish. Historic population: 1000 in a good year. 

Yep; having had generations of ancestors born and raised in Yell - or more specifically North Yell - is like shooting fish in a barrel. 2 days, 240 scotlandspeople credits and not a single miss. 

Ok. I admit I didn't go into the search completely blind. I have sketched out that branch of the family tree previously using (by far the best transcripts of Scottish Census's available online) and Tony Gott's excellent Shetland Family History which is invaluable as a starting point for anyone with Shetland roots. It has - as of the 27/12/2015 update - details of 436, 585 individuals of Shetland heritage. Seriously, start there.

So by the time I hit scotlandspeople I had names and dates to target (which is pretty damn important when you are paying per search) and came away with census pages, birth, death and marriages and valuations rolls that I know are for the people I wanted with the added bonus of the other people on the images are either related or neighbours as well. 

I could easily shell out for another 240 credits and in a couple more hours be still hitting related people. It is tempting. Not sure my credit card will thank me though. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Grandma Fibbins

In yesterday's post I mentioned that the daughters of Jane Clifton and Frederick Charles Brown were were raised by their father's relatives on his maternal side, including someone known as 'Grandma Fibbins.'

I'm not sure exactly who Grandma Fibbins is. Well, I know what she looks like. This is Gran Fibbins and Ethel Brown/Clifton.

And this is Gran Fibbins and Dorothy May Brown/Clifton.

But who exactly is Gran Fibbins?

Frederick Charles Brown (b. 1861 d. 1936) was the son of John Brown (b. c1814 d. 1881) and Mary Ann Fibbins (b. c1835 d. 1901). The daughters depicted in these photos were born in 1890 and 1897 respectively. So Gran Fibbins is not Mary Ann, likewise Mary Ann's mother Sarah Ann Watkins (b. c1814 d. 1890) is ruled out.

A postcard sent to Ethel from her sister Lola (b. 1893) shows that Ethel at least was living with David Fibbins, either her great uncle or his son. (Lola is marked with the x)

If only we could make out a date on the postcard, my best guess from the clothing is somewhere before 1910. So perhaps Gran Fibbins is David Fibbins' (b. 1844 d. 1927) is second wife Ellen Gloucester Bell (b. 1871 d. 1945)?  Maybe I will get lucky and someone will recognise her!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Trove Tuesday: "They weren't married, you know"

I've mentioned before what a great resource Trove is for fleshing out those little anecdotes my family is so fond of dropping into random conversation. The not married couple in this case was my paternal grandmother's grandparents Jane Clifton and Frederick Charles Brown.

Now it was Nana who told me they weren't married but she didn't know the whole story - and it's a good'un.

Frederick Brown and Jane Clifton never married because Frederick Brown was already married to Jane Hollege. A rather shotgun affair in 1878, which resulted in 4 children and desertion within the next 5 years. The divorce takes just a little longer.

"47 YEARS." Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931) 26 Mar 1930: 10. Web. 22 Sep 2015 <>.

Jane Clifton meanwhile had had two children (father unknown - son registered to her parents as she was only 15, daughter born 3 years later died the same year) prior to her taking up with Frederick Brown. Five daughters would follow.

Jane dies in 1900 and from what I can gather, although the girls were aware of who their father was and had some sort of relationship with him - more than that of their older half-siblings - they were raised it seems by relations of their father, his maternal Uncle David Fibbins and whoever the elusive 'Grandmother Fibbins' is.

Friday, 18 September 2015

More DNA Mapping

After I got my AncestryDNA results my mother was so excited that she ordered her kit straight away.

Well her results are in and SURPRISE I wasn't switched at birth (no chance of that really with how much we look like each other but it does ruin my dreams of being a fairy princess) and her DNA mapping is really interesting. It makes me want to bail up my grandpa and make him spit into a tube, so without further ado - AncestryDNA:


I really do want to know more about my grandfather's side of the family now other than a vague mention of his mother having Romany heritage. 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

DNA mapping

My AncestryDNA results are in and one of the things I have been looking forward to is comparing what my DNA map looks like compared to my genea-map.

My genea map, plotted using google maps and the earliest ancestors I have been able to trace looks like this:

My AncestryDNA map:

And not being satisfied with that I transferred the raw data to FamilyTreeDNA to have a squizz:

So overwhelmingly European is the not unexpected results then.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Dear Aunt Jane...

My first introduction to you was a baptism record from Wellingham, Norfolk in 1806.

I was rather excited as I had just found your parents marriage and finding you, the sister of my first Muffett in Australia was an added bonus. I was a little confused when I later ran into you in East Dereham, Norfolk being baptised again six years later.

But researching what 'publicbly baptized' could mean I decided that yes, this was your christening - the one with family and friends - and being around 20 kms from your original appearance was happy with my reasoning. But last night, last night you threw me a doozy.

Another baptism, 6 November 1808 at St John the Evangelist, Smith Square in Westminster of a Jane daughter of Robert & Sarah M*ffet also born the 6th of November 1806? Is this you as well?

Your brother does claim to have been born in London and when he informed the registry of your younger brother's death he stated that he too was London born. Their convict records however indicate a Norfolk lineage and your parents certainly were married in that little church in Wellingham. But I wonder also if this is not your younger brother at St Margaret's Westminster.

You can see, my dear Jane why I am a little confused. I do so hope you will help me clear up this matter.

Much love,
Your 3rd great grand niece.