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Festival of Postcards: Spotted Deer at Buxted Park, Sussex

18 Oct

The theme for the latest Festival of Postcards is Quadrupeds, I searched my postcards for animals, and to be honest most of my postcards are of rural nature, so there was no shortage of four-legged animals to choose from.

In the end I settled on these fine looking animals from Buxted Park in Buxted, East Sussex.

Spotted Deer close-up

I have not really been able to find out much about these deer beyond what was written on the back of the card. It looks like these may well be chital deer, but I am no expert on deer.

In case you can’t make out the handwriting the message reads:

My dear Arthur I thought you would like this card for your book there are no other in England like them they are never hunted I was quite close to them the other day as I often take a walk in the park They belong to Lord Portman and there are about four hundred they are very pretty hope you are quite well from your Aunt Lucy

The card must have been sent in an envelope or delivered by hand, so there is no postmark to help with dating it, and no clues as to who the publisher was either, but I would think it probably dates from the 1920s.

I was walking over at Buxted a couple of months ago, and I didn’t see any deer (only sheep). My great-grandmother Minnie HEMSLEY is said to have worked at Buxted Park, in the house which is now a very nice looking hotel.

In case you are wondering what they look like out in the open here is another postcard of the deer out in the park.

Spotted Deer, Buxted Park

Why I couldn’t live without the Sussex Family History Group

14 Oct

I decided it was about time I joined in the fun at the Carnival of Genealogy, the 82nd edition is all about family history societies. I have been a member of various genealogical and historical societies over the years, some have fallen by the wayside, due to changing interests or lack of money.

There is one society without which I could not have got as far I have in my research, and that is the Sussex Family History Group. I don’t remember how many years I have been a member now, certainly since I started taking my family history research seriously, when it became an obsession rather than just a hobby.

They provide all the services you would expect from a genealogical society, including a quarterly journal, an award-winning website, an email mailing list, numerous publications in print, microfiche and CD-ROM, they have library for members and also organise an annual conference as well as holding smaller local meetings around Sussex.

Given that over two thirds (probably nearer three-quarters) of my direct ancestors were born in the county of Sussex, England it is not surprising that many of their publications are sitting within arms reach of my computer.

There are two keys resources that I couldn’t work without, the first is the Sussex Marriage Index CD-ROM. This index is said to contain every recorded marriage in the county of Sussex (and some outside the boundaries as well) up to 1837 when civil registration came into force.

The software itself is a pleasure to use, unlike some other indexes I have used, it is quick and has the really useful ability to copy the selected marriage details to the clipboard, so that they can be pasted elsewhere.

The second resource is their members only data archive (provided by Frontis). This is quite a recent development, and whilst the website isn’t quite as professional and advanced as some of the online databases, what it lacks in appearance and search functionality is more than made up for by the wealth of data it holds.

It contains baptism records for most of the Sussex parishes, although it is by no means as complete as the marriage index. Also coming online at the moment are burial indexes for selected Sussex parishes as well.

A quick glance at the home page of their website will give you an idea of the wide range of services and publications the Sussex Family History Group has to offer. I haven’t even mentioned their range of monumental inscription CDs or their census indexes which pre-date the arrival of the census on the internet.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the chairman, officers, volunteers and members, both past and present, for all the hard work that they have put in (and continue to put in), which makes this group such a wonderful resource, without which my research would be struggling to get off the ground.

A Festival of Postcards – Main Street (Sussex style)

20 Jun

This month’s theme for the Festival of Postcards is Main Street, but over in England we don’t have Main Streets. The closest match I think would be the phrase High Street, especially in rural Sussex where most of my ancestors came from.

The example I have chosen from my collection is from the village of Partridge Green, Sussex. The card is postmarked December 23rd 1905, and to be honest it has not changed a great deal. A lot of the grass has given way to tarmac and concrete, and a few buildings have been added to the view (and a few taken away). The most striking difference is the road, no wide grass verges now just pavements and plenty of cars.

High Street, Partridge Green (front)

High Street, Partridge Green (back)

(Actual size: 138mm x 89mm)

A Festival of Postcards – Wheels (two wheels and some orphans)

19 May

As an avid postcard collector I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take part in the Festival of Postcards. I have left it rather late, so I have pulled one of my favourite cards from my collection for my entry, rather than one with a specific family connection.

St Marys Orphanage (front)

St Marys Orphanage (back)

(Actual size:  138mm x 88mm)

This was probably published around 1905-10, and although no publisher is mentioned I believe it is the work of John Fenner of Partridge Green, Sussex who was active in this area and produced several cards of the orphanage and the Catholic Church next door (at which he was married).

I love this card because not only is it a wonderful early example of a charity advertising card it is also a great piece of social history, in fact the message on the back is probably more important than the picture on the front.

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