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My top-ten surnames

2 Feb

I was fiddling around with Family Historian last night and then in Excel, producing a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree.

I thought this was going to be a mostly pointless exercise, purely for fun and curiosity, but it has highlighted an imbalance in my research, which I now wonder whether I should try and put right.

The top-ten surnames (really top-eleven surnames), with the number of individuals in my family tree, are as follows:

1.  TROWER (127)
2.  GASSON (104)
3.  MITCHELL (84)
4.  FAIRS (45)
5.  BOXALL (38)
6.  KINGHORN (28)
6.  VINALL (28)
8.  BATEMAN (27)
9.  GEERING (26)
10.  DRIVER (25)
10.  HEMSLEY (25)

The first three names are no surprise, after all they are the surnames of three of my grandparents, the surprising thing is that my fourth grandparent’s name is HEMSLEY, right down at the bottom of the list.

I don’t know quite why I feel that this imbalance is wrong, but I certainly feel I should invest some more time on it so that it moves up the chart. It wouldn’t be difficult to add lots more HEMSLEYs to my tree, but it needs to be done with purpose rather than just adding everyone I can find.

I am going to add the task of reviewing my HEMSLEY line to my to-do list, seeing what meaningful work I can do on the family. I am sure there are some interesting people and stories waiting to be discovered in Framfield, Sussex.

Sweet memories at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

4 Jan

On New Years Eve I visited the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in Notting Hill, London. I would heartily recommend a visit if you are ever in London.

My friend and I spent nearly two hours wandering around this relatively small building that was crammed full of all manner of advertising material and packaging, from bottles and jars to boxes and tins, from the Victorian era up to the present day.

There was so much to see, and not just food packaging. It was a timeline of British (mostly English) social history, which featured along with the general packaging and advertising of each age, examples of commemorative items produced for events such as coronations and the Great Exhibition of 1851.

I found it fascinating the way some products we know and love were almost instantly recognisable in their earlier incarnations, where key elements of the branding had been retained or changed only slightly.

Particularly interesting were the displays towards the end of the museum, which featured examples of the same products from across the decades, lined up next to each other on the shelves. The size, shape and material of the packaging may have changed only slightly, but there was a clear evolution across the years.

The most surprising thing for me was the realisation that many of the products that I remember as a child (mostly sweets and chocolates) which I thought were new, had in reality been around for decades before, like Smarties (first called Smarties in 1937). I wonder if this is just me or my generation, or does every generation think they are the first to try these “new fangled” products?

I resisted the temptation to spend any money in their shop, but they do have an online shop with some great postcards amongst other things, so I may well be tempted again.

Happy New Year

1 Jan

1910 Happy New Year

I might be a hundred years too late, but I wish you all a peaceful and successful new year. Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas

25 Dec

To Wish a Merry Xmas 

Merry Christmas to all the readers of this blog. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my posts. May Father Christmas makes all your wishes and dreams come true at this special time of year.

Christmas vs. Genealogy

19 Dec

I’m afraid to say Christmas won the day. For the third Saturday in a row I haven’t done any family history research.

I am slightly worried that I am not going to get my family tree chart printed in time for Christmas, because next week is looking quite busy, but I am sure I can find time to get to the print and copy shop.

Today an old friend and I met up for a pre-Christmas day out, featuring the cinema, pizza and slipping around on icy pavements. The film was A Christmas Carol in 3D, which wasn’t a bad film, although I am not sure it was that much different to (or better than) any of the previous films of the same name.

To my colleagues (or rather ex-colleagues now) this may come as a surprise, as I did say that the only Christmas film I was going to watch over Christmas was Die Hard. Perhaps I am not really Scrooge after all.

As Monday is the last posting day for Christmas I decided that I needed to get my Christmas cards done this evening. I am pleased to say they are all ready to be dropped into the post-box tomorrow morning, apart from the ones that I will be delivering by hand over the next few days.

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