Category Archives: Stories

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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Blank spaces and circumstantial evidence

This is the fourth part of the three-part story of the life of my great, great, great grandmother, Mary Ann Port, which aims to explain why, despite the absence of evidence that she ever had any children, I believe her … Continue reading

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My friend Miss Mary Ann Port

This is the third and final part of the story of my great, great, great grandmother, Mary Ann Port. You can read the first part here and the second part here. The long, drawn-out Chancery Case, Port v. Hovil[1], had … Continue reading

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Humbly complaining

This is the second part of the story of my great, great, great grandmother, Mary Ann Port. You can read the first part here. Humbly complaining shew unto your Lordship your Oratrixes and Orator Elizabeth Port of Samuel Street Saint … Continue reading

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All and every my child and children

Our efforts to reconstruct the lives of our pre-Victorian ancestors are all-too-often thwarted by the lack of available source material. In an era before the decennial censuses and the (virtually) comprehensive civil registration system, our reference points can be severely … 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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A mariner’s tale – with a twist

William Annal was born to the sea. His father, John, together with his uncle William, left their native Orkney, and worked as fishermen along the UK’s east coast, before eventually settling on the Thames Estuary in Gravesend, Kent, sometime around … Continue reading

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