Category Archives: Local History

A Draper’s Tale

Thomas Port, my great great grandfather, was born on 22 August 1822 in St Pancras, London. There is, however, no official record of his birth or baptism – at least none that I have ever been able to find. The … Continue reading

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The Darkest Day

The date is Tuesday, 29 January 1895 and Edinburgh is in the grip of a snowstorm. In fact, the whole country is suffering; snow fell uninterruptedly for 12 hours in Birmingham yesterday and London is experiencing temperatures of 15° Fahrenheit … Continue reading

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The Annals of the Annals

An investigation into the early history of the Annal/Annand family in South Ronaldsay, Orkney The Annal surname appears to have originated separately in two parts of Scotland; in Orkney (specifically the island parish of South Ronaldsay) and in Fife (St … Continue reading

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Conjectures, traditions and the search for the truth…

Sir Denner Strutt, Knt., was of Little Warley, of which place he was created a baronet in 1641; he suffered severely from the arbitrary exactions of the parliament in the time of King Charles the First, being compelled to pay … Continue reading

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Back From The Dead?

This is the second part of the story of Stephen Willis, the Ramsgate hawker, and his parents, Stephen Willis senior and Ellen (née Foley). In the first part, we followed Stephen senior from his birth in Bishopsbourne near Canterbury in … Continue reading

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A Waste of Time and Money

I remember thinking, when I was just setting out on my family history research as a naïve fifteen year old, that this genealogy business was quite a simple affair. Once you’d found a record of someone’s birth, you looked for … Continue reading

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Unhappy Differences

It’s every family historian’s dream to have the opportunity to research and write about an ancestor who left a mark. It doesn’t even need to have been a big mark. Perhaps they were involved in a major political event or, … Continue reading

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The story behind the stone

About 35 years ago, I was involved with a project to record the monumental inscriptions in Aldenham churchyard for the Hertfordshire Family History Society. The churchyard contains hundreds of gravestones but one in particular, recording the death of a woman … Continue reading

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The River Colne: a local history walk

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently investigating the history of my local patch – namely Watford and Bushey in south-west Hertfordshire. I’ve been looking at lots of old photographs and maps of the area and I’ve become particularly … Continue reading

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