Of Boatraces, Birthdays, Burials and Books

Today is the day that my ‘interview’ with Geneabloggers appears. This may mean that some of you are experiencing my particularly quirky brand of historical ramblings for the first time. This is a bit of a responsibility as I feel duty bound to be witty and inciteful. One can have too much of witty and inciteful though, so you may be disappointed. My whole life is somewhat akin to a protracted April Fool’s joke so this is an appropriate day for me. I mustn’t miss an advertising opportunity – so buy the book why don’t you! Actually sales of Coffers and Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs: the lives of our seventeenth century ancestors are going well, so much so that those under one side of the spare bed are now gone. I therefore need to sell those on the other side to stop said spare bed being on a slope.

Childhood memories sparked yesterday with my birthday and a convestaion with my ‘elderly relative’. I am of course fast becoming the elderly relative and am aware that I should be making more effort to record family stories. The boat race was bound up with this as inevitably, when I was small, it fell on the day of my birthday party. I can remember watching during these parties – well I suppose it made a good accompaniment to pass the parcel. Party games – another topic to record. This year’s race lacked the major incidents of last but one of the remarks by the commentator should go down in the annuals of stating the obvious. ‘Cambridge will be back to try again next year’. – What sort of race would it be if they weren’t? I was always an Oxford adherent, primarily on the strength of preferring dark to pale blue. Now I have a daughter in Cambridge and a Cambridge graduate for a son-in-law maybe I should change my allegiance but habits of a lifetime die hard. No birthday snow though. I think I can remember two snowy birthdays.

Putting the finishing touches to my talks for Cleveland Family History Society‘s open day. This is a ‘two for the price of one’ job. At the moment one session is too long and the other too short – maybe I can negotiate some redjustment of the timings. In the course of preparing the talk about the census I came across a table on the Find My Past website, you know in the explanation bits that sadly noone bothers to read (their ‘knowledge base’ contains some good stuff). The figures, taken from Peter Chrstian’s The Genealogists’ Internet, say that, in 2009, 43% of the surnames in the 1891 census indexes on Ancestry were incorrectly transcribed. Hopefully many of these will have been corrected by now but no wonder some of our ancestors go missing.

Buckland Brewer burials from 1783 are now ready to go online. I just need to check on copyright issues – always a nightmare. The earlier ones will follow post checking.

Now to await the local press photographer, who is coming to take pictures of me pointing at ancient Clovelly documents. Fortunately I do have some in my possession following our recent exhibition, so a map annotated with tenant’s names, a lease from the 1740s and a rent book of the 1890s may feature. First the local community Big Breakfast. Not that I actually plan on consuming any breakfast. It starts at 8.30, which as far as I’m concerned is almost lunch time. No way could I wait until 8.30am for breakfast and still be vertical. It is always good to be involved in the community goings on though. This year, I did pass on the Easter Sunday sunrise service, which is always awe inspiring, taking place as it does on the cliffs above Hartland.  Getting up at what (allowing for our clock change) would have been 4.30am was not the problem – more the standing outside, bonfire notwithstanding, in temperatures of minus 5 without the aid of my Levi thermal boiler suit. Finally, on the community front, our village has been infested with Naughty Gnomes – really not an April Fool. I wonder if our ancestors had time for fun and April Fool’s jokes?

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2 comments on “Of Boatraces, Birthdays, Burials and Books

  1. bananiayum says:

    Please notify me of your new posts…thank you

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