Posted in Ancestors, family history, Mining

Sad case of Thomas Knighton – Aged 11

The sad case of Thomas Knighton, killed whilst leaving the coal mine to go home. Aged 11. Thomas was my Great Great Grandfather, Moses Knighton’s, nephew.

The coroner reported a case of ‘accidentally killed’. The main witness appears to have been Joseph Sisson. During his evidence he explained that there are two methods to leave a pit – either by a chain winch contraption or a box you stepped into.  The safest method is known to be via the chains. This was operated by a ‘whimsey-man’.

On the day in question Thomas and his brother (unnamed in the report so not sure which one) were preparing to leave the pit and the deceased and his brother choose the box to travel in. Whilst they were travelling up to the surface of the mine the descending chain fell into the box. The brother called out to the whimsey-man to pull the descending chain out of the box. However before the chain was fully out of the box Thomas shouted it was OK. The whimsey-man then immediately lowered the chain and that action capsized the box.

The deceased fell to the bottom, but his brother managed to link his arm through the chain and hold on – he was drawn safely to the surface.

Thomas suffered terrible injuries from the fall. The witness said he only stirred once and was ‘quite dead’ within 5 minutes.

His body was carried to the top of the pit and then carried home by a Samuel Haywood. I don’t want to imagine the family dealing with the trauma of the event.

Whimsey or Whim was a winding mechanism for carrying men and materials up and down the mine shafts. The Men or Man employed in this operation were known as whimsey-men. (Info from

Joseph Sissons
Joseph says it was safer to go up n the chain than the box but it was not his business to make men go up in the tackle. Thomas was 11 years old.

Messrs Barber, Walker & Co
Thomas was killed at the mine of Barber, Walker and Co at Eastwood, Nottingham. It was owned by Sir Philip Barber – often referred to as Major Barber.

Thomas Knighton born 1828 – 1839
Thomas was the 5th child of Sampson and Elizabeth Knighton (nee Caley). He had 5 sisters and 4 brothers.  It is difficult to determine which brother was working down the pit with him.  His elder brother was William was born in 1824 or Robert who was born in 1830 seem the most likely.

1841 Census
So far have only been able to locate one Sampson Knighton (coal miner) living with a Robert 10 and Isaac  6 (his sons) – Are all the other children away from home or have they died?

More research is clearly needed.

Posted in family history

Always something new to learn

As you can see it’s been a while since I posted anything. Work and family matters until recently seem to have lessened the time I have had for family history.

However in the last few weeks I have been addicted to the Yorkshire Parish Records on Findmypast as mentioned on Dick Eastman’s blog.

My late husbands Paternal Great Grandparents were from the Upper Dales and it is wonderful to be able to verify most of the information I already had without leaving my office chair. It has also been a reminder of the hours I used to spend pouring over parish ledgers and trying to decipher the writing.

Plus I have found some additional facts to add to the family tree. It is difficult to explain to people how exciting I find this. Do your family members glaze over when you inform them of their ancestors?

The main reason for the post was my surprise at reading an article on the BBC website – posted 5 June 2016 on a subject I had never heard about before. It’s title ‘Taken from life: The unsettling art of death photography.’

As an ex professional photographer it is something I certainly won’t have fancied doing. On the plus side I suppose your subject can’t fidget or answer you back.  (To dark)? However it is something that I’m sure I would find quite challenging.

Psychologically I can see how it may be helpful to the family and it is only in recent years that parents have been encouraged to be photographed cradling their stillborn baby. This I thought was something new that had been recognised as a way to help survive emotionally.  However it would appear that the Victorians clearly knew a thing or too about grief.

Please don’t click on the link if you feel that these images could cause distress.

Taken from life: The unsettling art of death photography.



Posted in Baking, family history, History, Tudors, TV

Happy New Year – Any resolutions?

Happy New Year. Wonder what 2016 will bring.  Did you make any resolutions?

I did consider making one. That is to spend less time on Family History. But as that resolution is domed to failure – probably by mid January, I decided best not to bother.

With regard to the coming year in reality it is probably going to be more time.  As more websites and archives become available on the internet I will be glued to the computer screen gazing at illegible hand writing etc.

Also their seems to be an increase of very interesting history programmes on TV.  Did you see the one over Christmas? Back in time through Christmas, about Christmas through the decades – well that certainly bought back a few memories.  Also managed to catch the repeat of the Great History Quiz on the Tudors – personally I thought that was a great way to learn about history. Both these programmes are still available in BBC iplayer.

One for your diary, especially if you have a Baker in the family, or even just enjoy baking, is Victorian Bakers, a three part series, starting Tuesday 5 January at 20.00 on BBC Two. The first episode starts in 1837. As my 4th Great Grandfather, George Pearson, was listed as a Baker in the 1841 and 1851 census I shall be watching this with interest.

So all the best with your research this year and may you have some interesting discoveries.



Posted in Ancestry, family history, Family Tree Maker

Ancestry to stop selling Family Tree Maker software end of this month!


Today I received an email from Ancestry stating the following


Dear Family Tree Maker™ community,

Ancestry is proud to have made a significant investment this year to bring valuable new content and records to the Ancestry site. In 2015, we’ve made 220 million searchable historical records from Mexico available, more than 170 million pages from the largest collection of U.S. will and probate records, among others. We’ve also introduced new features such as Ancestry Academy, and major advancements for AncestryDNA.

As we strive to provide our customers with the best experience possible, we are constantly evaluating our services and product offerings. True to this focus, we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide new content, product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015.

We will continue to support existing Family Tree Maker owners at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™ will continue to work. Our Member Services team will also remain available to assist with questions or issues you may have.

These changes are never easy. But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on continuing to build great products for our loyal Ancestry community.


Looking at the reaction on their blog this has not been well received. Personally I have been using Family Tree Maker since around 1999 if not before. I use the software so I have a copy of all my work on the computer rather than on Ancestry’s website only.  It also produces some very good reports which can easily be shared with the family either in printed form or as a pdf for emailing.

Working on a MAC computer at home there is limited choice with regards to genealogy software and of course I am not too keen to start learning a new product but I will if forced.

Maybe Ancestry should stop offering 6 months free membership subscription on the Family Tree Maker products then it would be more profitable.  Sadly rather than being passionate about genealogy they are passionate about profit. Very disappointed and I will certainly be reconsidering my subscription when it comes to renewal.

Posted in family history

Hooray – 1939 register due to be released 2 November.

Well I know what I will be doing this Monday, 2nd November! Thats of course if the site doesn’t crash. Its not a good sign that Findmypast dedicated 1939 page is already struggling to open.

The 1939 is a potential gold mine for family historians. It also helps take the pain away from the fact that there is no 1931 or 1941 census records, 31 lost in a fire and 41 was never taken due to the war.

The prices look quite steep at £6.95 per household – especially if there is only one person in the household however there is a special deal with a five household bundle costing £24.95. There appears to be discount for findmypast subscribers but what that will be is yet to be announced.  If you are a subscriber you should receive an email very soon.

The register will include the following information

  • Full names
  • Addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Marital status
  • Occupations
  • Whether the individual was a member of the armed services or reserves

I’d like to say thank you to those people that have campaigned for the release of this information.  Luckily for us the census laws of 100 year rule do not apply to the 1939 register, but it has been a long campaign to get this agreed by the Office of National Statistics.

Anyway the wait is nearly over. For more details click 1939 Register

And don’t ring me on Monday – I will be busy 🙂

Posted in acid free storage, family archive, G Ryder, Ikea, wire stitched boxes

Keeping your archives safe for future generations

During a recent visit to a relative we were busy comparing photographs when she said “I know I shouldn’t keep them in this plastic wallet”.  Well that remark got me thinking.

I have spent over 25 years looking after the family archive including some very precious items. Thinking about all my documents and photos I realised that although they were residing in some pretty boxes – acid free they were not.  When I got home I resolved to change their ‘living’ conditions.

After researching on the internet I found a company called G. Ryder. The products I ordered were as follows.

Premium Archival Acid Free Wire Stitch Storage Box A4 – £5.82 inc VAT
These boxes are grey so if they are having to be kept on shelving the colour fits with most decor.  The slightly cheaper buff coloured boxes are very strong but not completely acid free. I really like the full depth lid – much more difficult for the contents to spill or be readily available to inquisitive fingers if you have grandchildren.

These boxes are almost a perfect fit for the IKEA Kallax range


Acid Free Storage Box Wire Stitchin their clearance line £3 including VAT
These boxes are quite square and I have found them useful for diaries, tickets, A5 programmes, There are only 9 left in stock so if you fancy one of these best to order asap.

Acid Free Wallets – in their clearance line – £0.90p including VAT (with postage work out approx £1.40 each)
These are dark grey folders which I have found very useful for holding quite a few documents. I also ordered some of the envelope style wallets but found that they only held one or two sheets safely.

Still have quite a bit of work to do sorting through notes and documents but I am definitely on a mission now.

Another big plus of the visit to Lynne was the discovery of a Christmas card sent to her Grandma from my Grandpa and Grandma.  As soon as I saw it I realised it had a hand painted cover done by my Grandpa.  She very kindly gave the card too me. Something else to treasure – how wonderful.



Posted in 1960's, Cinema, family history, sisters, Wild West

The story behind a photo

What stories are evoked by your photos. What memories do they hold? Have your shared your thoughts and memories so future generations know the ‘whole’ picture?

For the onlooker the photo below is just a photo of me and my sister but for me it reminds me of so much more.

me sis and cameraA. How my Mum, despite our 6 year age difference, would occasionally make the same clothes for me and my sister and make us wear them! I don’t remember feeling upset by this, it was just a fact of life.

B. How long they had to last (getting a tad short).

C. How clumsy I used to be. Originally I thought the bandage on my leg was a result of falling over on holiday. But digging back into my memory I now think it is when I spiked the back of my knee trying to climb over the school railings. This escapade resulted in a trip to hospital and three stitches. Surprisingly there was no blood as I walked home – still don’t understand that. I was told at the hospital it was very close to causing real problems. Clearly remember the nurse not being very nice and my Dad having to hold my leg as she stitched, as she didn’t use an anaesthetic (probably to teach me a lesson). This incident isn’t mentioned in my medical notes (yes I have viewed them – apply in writing to your GP – approx cost £10) but in retrospect it’s a very big bandage for a fall.

D. How I liked cameras and photography – who knew I would do it as a job for a while.

E. A lovely family holiday at a farm in Yeovil. Particularly remember the 5 sons who worked the farm – sadly I was a tad too young to attract their interest. IMG_6792This photo brings back memories of

A. Dressing up and playing being a cowgirl.

B. Having a cap gun and thinking the smell and noise it gave off when fired was wonderful.

C. Being allowed to play outside our house after being ill. Told in no uncertain terms – do not go down the street – STAY OUTSIDE THE HOUSE. But I had a new cap gun and wanted to show my friends. Boy was I in trouble for disobeying my Mum  (not for the first or last time).  I suspect I was recovering from chicken pox and probably still contagious!

D. Going to the cinema on a Saturday morning with loads and loads of other kids and watching the old Wild West movies at Evington Road Cinema, Leicester.