Tag Archives: carlisle

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 39

26 Sep

Oh dear… the weeks seem to be flying by quite quickly now, I really must go back to my New Year’s Resolutions and have a laugh at what I thought I was going to achieve this year and see if there is any chance that I might complete some of them.

It has been quite a good week, with a good mix of family history activities. I deliberately sat down and added some more people to my database, and it felt really good. There were two distinct families, the KINGHORNs in Carlisle, Cumberland and the HEMSLEYs in Sussex. I seem to be getting drawn towards Carlisle again, at the back of my mind I still have the idea of visiting Carlisle and doing some research (once their new archive centre is open).

I managed to get quite a bit of organising, not of my family history (which I like to think is quite well organised already) but of all the other stuff in my life and in particular the stuff perched on my computer desk. It is a great weight off my mind, it gives me a bit more space and a bit less to worry about, plus a bit more money (I discovered a cheque that I had forgotten all about).

I have also spent some time looking at my to-do list. It is quite interesting to see how my focus has shifted over the months, and there are several things on the list that I could probably spend some time on now, and some that need to be more focused, but that is generally how it works. I think I will be doing a bit more of a thorough overhaul in the coming week, I am sure there will be a few things that I have forgotten to knock off.

I have a couple of other projects that seem to be nearing the stage where I actually need to start doing things rather than just scribbling notes and thinking about. Now is the time for action, or it should be but I will probably find some way to procrastinate for a few more weeks.

Finding the Broken Bridge: Part One

13 Sep

One of the key sources in finding the location of the bridge where the accident that nearly cost Thomas KINGHORN his life took place has been a book called The Manchester and Glasgow Road: Vol 2 by Charles George Harper. Published by Chapman & Hall Ltd, London in 1907 it is now available for download on Internet Archive.

Chapter 34 of the book describes the road leading up to the bridge, albeit from the opposite direction from which the mail coach was travelling on that fateful night:

The old Glasgow road, that goes up from Moffat past Meikleholmside, and so across Ericstane Muir, is everything a road should not be. It is steep, narrow, exposed, and rugged, and, except as an object-lesson in what our ancestors had to put up with, is a very undesirable route and one in which no one would wish to find himself. It has not even the merit of being picturesque.

Further along the road things did improve, apparently due to the efforts of Thomas Telford:

The road that Telford made continues onward from Beattock in more suave fashion. It follows the glen of Evan Water for nine miles, and the three of them-road, river, and Caledonian Railway-go amicably side by side under the hills, to Beattock Summit and down to Elvanfoot, where the Elvanfoot Inn of other days now stands as a shooting-lodge.

Finally the author describes the bridge where the accident happened:

Elvanfoot Bridge, that carries the road over the Evan (i.e. Avon) Water, looks down upon a pretty scene of rushing stream, boulders, and ferns, or "furruns," as a Scotsman would enunciate the word.

It all sound quite picturesque and the author even includes a sketch of the scene:

The Broken Bridge

Of course if you have read my earlier blog posts (like this one) you will know that on the night of the 25th October 1808 the bridge gave way and sent the mail coach, passengers, driver, guard and horses plummeting into the swollen river below.

The author describes the incident in some detail, although it is not clear where he got his information from, or whether it can be relied on, although the facts do pretty much tie-up with the newspaper reports. This uncertainty is a shame because the book provides an excellent piece of evidence for the exact location of the bridge:

For many years the bridge was not properly mended, funds being scarce on these roads; and the mail, slowing for it, lost five minutes on every journey. The part that fell may still be traced by the shorter lime stalactites hanging from the repaired arch. It is still known as "Broken Bridge," in addition to "Milestone Brig," from the milestone on it, marking the midway distance between Carlisle and Glasgow: "Carlisle 47 1/2 miles. Glasgow 47 miles."

That milestone would be the key to finding the location of the bridge, in the days before detailed Ordnance Survey maps and long before GPS it is a fixed point on a certain route (the road between Glasgow and Carlisle) and even if it wasn’t there now it would probably be shown on earlier maps. If all else failed I could resort to tracing the route on a map and measuring the distance.

‘C’ is for Confusion in Carlisle

1 Sep

I went to bed last night (slightly later than I had hoped) feeling very pleased with myself, I had managed to clear a name off my list of unidentified wives. Every time I opened up my family history software (Family Historian) the alphabetical list of names begins with a section of seventeen women whose surname is unknown, and it has been bugging me that I haven’t found out who they are.

I hadn’t really set out to try and clear any of them last night, I didn’t really know what I was going to work on, but I ended up picking the first name off the top of the list and looking again at trying to find out who she was. The first name on the list was Alice, the first wife of George KINGHORN the son of Thomas KINGHORN the mail guard (my 4x great-grandfather).

I think George is probably the only one of Thomas’ children to remain in Carlisle, Cumberland, the rest appear to have moved down to London. The marriage of George KINGHORN and Alice should have taken place in Carlisle, the other end of the country from me, which explains why I hadn’t got around to identifying her yet.

Having reviewed the data and available online databases I found that there was still not much chance of finding her maiden name, George KINGHORN is in FreeBMD, marrying in Q1 1840 in Carlisle Registration District, but none of the spouses on the same page are named Alice. The most likely scenarios seemed to be that this was another George KINGHORN and that my George married prior to the start of civil registration in 1837, or that Alice wasn’t her real name but a nickname.

With nothing better to do I thought I would work forward and fill in some more detail on the family. It appeared I didn’t have an entry for the family in the 1851 census, but this turned out to be incorrect. I had entries for everyone except George and Alice’s daughter Sarah KINGHORN, so I decided to go in search of her. It was then that things started slotting into place.

She was living in Wetheral, Cumberland, with her uncle Thomas CARR and his mother Sarah CARR. Could Thomas be the brother of Alice? Both Thomas and Alice CARR were baptised in Carlisle, the children of Thomas and Sarah CARR (according to the IGI). Things were looking promising. Even Alice’s age was about right, this had to be her, but when did she get married and why was she not showing up as marrying George KINGHORN.

Searching FreeBMD for Alice’s marriage brought up the same details as George, Q1 1840 and Carlisle Registration District, so why hadn’t I found her before? Looking closer I noticed she was listed as being on page 25C of the register whereas George was on page 25 (both were in volume 25).

Something is not quite right with the index, there are eight people listed on page 25 and only one on page 25c, I don’t know what that extra C means, but it does mean that there is an odd number of people getting married in Carlisle that quarter.

It also means that there is still an element of doubt in my mind, there is enough evidence for me to identify the Alice in my database as Alice CARR daughter of Thomas and Sarah CARR, but I won’t 100% until I have seen a copy of the marriage certificate or the entry in the parish register.

I have solved one mystery but uncovered another. What does the C in the page number in birth index mean?

Closure of Carlisle Record Office

5 Apr

The bad news is that Carlisle Record Office will be closing on the 29th April 2010. The good news is that it will be re-opening in January 2011 (if all goes according to plan) in a new building.

When I read the news I was a bit annoyed, not by the closure, these things happen and it is surely for the best in the long run.

No, I was annoyed at myself. I have been saying for months that I was going to go to the Carlisle Record Office and pursue my KINGHORN ancestors. Now I have just under four weeks to make it happen or I will have to wait until next year.

So, I have to make a very quick decision and if I decide to go I will need to do a lot of preparation and research. I am not even sure what I expect to find there. I don’t even believe that Thomas KINGHORN came from Carlisle (I think he was originally from London, but that is another story) and I am not even sure that he spent much time in Carlisle.

There are a few parish register entries that I need to check, but that could be done at one of the other libraries that will be providing access to some of the resources. What I am really interested in is finding records of taxes and rates, that might tell me when Thomas was actually in Carlisle.

So as hard as it may be for me, I am going to have to make a decision, either to visit Carlisle or to put this particular part of my research on hold for the rest of the year.

Feeling sorry for myself

22 Jun

I was feeling very sorry for myself last night, I suppose you could call it a case of “Sunday night blues”, tomorrow would see me back at work again and I felt like I hadn’t really achieved anything this weekend.

Now don’t get me wrong, it had been quite a productive weekend, but you couldn’t really call cleaning the fridge and oven and mowing the grass achievements. Sunday was father’s day, so I had also spent some quality time round my parents house, enjoying dinner.

I suppose my problem was that I hadn’t actually found out anything new on my family tree, in fact I had done very little research during the previous week.

There were other factors, like the headache I had been unable to shake off, the aching shoulders (probably from cleaning the oven), the fact that Sunday was the longest day and although summer had just begun the days would soon be getting shorter and of course the feeling that in terms of walking I was probably not going to be able to beat my Sussex Day walk in terms of distance or enjoyment.

All this was conspiring to make me feel quite miserable!

The problem with my family tree is that my main projects all require a visit to the archives to make any more real progress, something which I don’t have the time and money to do. What I really needed was to focus on something I could do at home, between visits to the archives.

With access to ancestry.co.uk and various Sussex resources courtesy of the Sussex Family History Group, virtually any of my Sussex ancestors would be fair game.

Ideally I would like to find a family line with very local roots, preferably in the Horsham district, so I can use the resources of Horsham Library during my lunch break or after work. The added bonus of a local family is that it would be that much easier for me to visit their ancestral homes or search graveyards.

I can think of one or two families that might fit the bill and one in particular (the FAIRS family of West Grinstead) which I know I have quite a bit of research material on already.

I will keep my other projects active, and will fill in what details I can, but I won’t be able to make any major advances until I have visited Winchester, Carlisle or London again.

Thinking about KINGHORN migration

28 May

I said in yesterday’s post that I needed to find some new avenues to explore on my research projects, so in an attempt to breathe new life into my floundering Thomas KINGHORN research (my 3x great grandfather), I have turned my thoughts to migration.

Thomas KINGHORN (4x great grandfather) and his wife Margaret had (to my knowledge) six children. It appears that at least half of these moved to London (including my 3x great grandfather) in the first half of the nineteenth century. This raises lots questions which I would like to explore further.

  • Which of the six children actually migrated and which stayed in Carlisle?
  • When did they migrate? Did they all move at the same time?
  • Where did they settle in London? What influenced that choice?
  • What was the reason they left Carlisle? Was it to find work? To live with other family members? Was it for better living conditions?
  • How would they have travelled down south? Did they use the mail coach?
  • Why did they chose London? Why not Glasgow, Edinburgh or any other northern city?

Some of these are obviously going to be easier to answer than others (the who, when and where), but hopefully once I have established these facts I can see if any patterns emerge and if any conclusions can be drawn from the data.

Even if I can’t answer all the questions, it is going to help me build up a picture of the family as a whole, which will ultimately help my understanding of the lives of both of my Thomas KINGHORNs.

Gruesome discovery in a Carlisle Coffee House

28 May

Talking of distractions, I came across a rather gruesome burial entry in the St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle, Cumberland Bishop’s Transcripts at the weekend.

“A Man Name unknown packed in a Box & brought by a Manchester Coach” was buried at St. Cuthbert’s on the 10th December 1827. His abode was given as “Coffee House Parish of Saint Cuthbert Carlisle”, and his age was “Supposed 50 years”.

I would love to find out more about this burial and the story behind it,  but I will resist the urge, even though I am sure there is a really interesting story behind it, I am sure the local newspaper would have covered it.

Am I the only one who sees a story like this and wonders if there is a genealogist somewhere who is looking for this man, cursing the fact that they can’t find a burial record for him?

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