It is my pleasure to introduce the Second Volume of The Escutcheon. The issues of the first volume were really well received, the feedback was more than encouraging. Hopefully, further articles contributed by members will increase the variety of subjects of our common interest.
The last year was a year of reorganisation, firstly to adjust our profile to that of other societies in the Federation of Family History Societies, partly to make the Society more viable from a financial point of view, and finally to clarify our own history so that it may become a source of genealogical and related research in the future.
This year is special for C.U.H.A.G.S. We are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the foundation, or rather refoundation from the C.U. Heraldic and C.U. Genealogical Societies. Members often joke about these celebrations, because in the past history of the Society this is the not the first, but in fact the third, probably the last, and certainly the most important 40th Anniversary.
The programme is dedicated to this special year, featuring talks with local interest in Cambridge, from well-known often alrady familiar speakers. The Michaelmas Term’s highlight will be Saint Nicholas’s Feast on 30th November, in Clare College, but I very much hope I shall see you on many of the speaker meetings, too.
I think we’ve all come to appreciate indexes (or should that be indices in this instance?) during our family history researches. They are a boon to those of us who are exasperated to find that our ancestors were insufficiently obliging to remain within county or even regional boundaries, making it difficult (and sometimes impossible) for us to track their movements.
Most of my ancestors seem to have been (yeomen) farmers and several of them, over two generations, were millers. My 3 x great grandfather, Leonard, was one of these; milling at Carlton-in-Lindrick, Notts, (1811-13), Derby (1815-16), Swarkeston, Derbys, (1816- ) and Harlaston, Staffs, (1822-24) but there he disappears. His wife and youngest son had just died, leaving seven children under the age of ten. Leonard is believed to have died c. 1830 (certainly before the family mill was sold in 1834), but his whereabouts and movements between 1824 and his death are not known.
Prior to 1995 there was no National Index of Millers that I could search. Following my advertisement in Family Tree Magazine, I found that there were in existence several small indexes, mainly on a regional/county basis, which, unfortunately, did not prove helpful to my search. I did, however, locate Tony and Mary Yoward, 4, Slipper Mill, Emsworth, Hants, who already held an extensive database of millers for the South and West, mainly Wilts, Hants and Dorset.
As my own area of interest is in the Midlands it was agreed between us that jointly we would establish a National Index, that I should continue compiling a complementary index for the Midlands, East and North, and that the Yowlands would extend their boundaries to include all the West, Wales and the South. It seemed to us that a National Index in two halves was better than no National index at all. There is, of course, some overlap and I continue to record everything that comes my way, sending on relevant entries to the Yowards. Currently we each hold over 6000 names and the total is rising.
My records include notes of any photographs or paintings of the mills in the index - this is particularly important for the mills which are now derelict or have disappeared completely. For the same reason, I also collect old postcards depicting windmills.
All references to millers will be gratefully received and searches for specific names will be undertaken on receipt of an SAE plus two first class stamps to cover the cost of photocopying.
58, Melvin Way, Histon, Cambs, CB4 4HZ
No research is of any consequence if it is not passed on. Whilst many may enjoy the process of collecting and interpreting evidence, only a few seem inclined to place their findings on record in the form of a coherent narrative. In this book John Titford sets out to demonstrate that there is no mystique to the process and that, in principle, almost anyone can find their way into print.
Starting with a collection of extracts from archival material, documents, maps, family trees, photographs, etc, one has to decide which is the best way forward. Clearly this will depend on how big a book is evisaged, how many copies are likely to be required, how many illustrations should be incorporated, and how much will it all cost. John Titford emphasises that it is important to develop a plan taking into account the target audience, the most interesting ancestors, the overall historical context together with the practical and financial resources available. He advocates the preparation of a sample text to test the reaction of potential readers.
We are provided with useful guidance on setting out the narrative in the form of an analysis of an extract from The Titford Family 1547-1947. There is also a comprehensive check list, with explanations, of all the main points one needs to address in compiling such a book. The final section deals with the very practical matters of producing camera-ready copy, printing, binding, marketing and selling the finished article.
John Titford is to be congratulated on setting out some excellent guidelines in such a forthright and helpful way. His enthusiasm for the topic is infectious and must surely inspire more family historians to look at their data again but this time with a genuine determination to see it published.
This is another booklet in the Federation’s series devoted to basic methodology. Tom Wood, a regular contributor to Family Tree Magazine, has written a most helpful text explaining, first of all, the various types of record office in the U.K. He also mentions other institutions and organisations which hold archival material, transcripts or copies in other media. We are then advised about the importance of careful preparation prior to a visit and the requirement, in most instances, to reserve a searchroom place in advance.
The author then provides us with an outline of the working procedures in most archive repositories, emphasising the need to make an adequate record of the findings at the time. He concludes with a list of relevant addresses and a brief bibliography.
Some readers may recall Colonel Swinnerton’s visit to C.U.H.&G.S. for the Mountbatten Commemorative Lecture which he delivered last April. On that occasion he spoke about military heraldry so one is not surprised to find references to this topic in his new book about the British Army. For instance he includes several illustrations of badges, uniforms and miltary insignia. However the main point of the book is to provide some background to family historians who may have military ancestry but little appreciation of the structure and organisation of the British Army. The author devotes about half of the book to the foundation and development of a professional regular army over the last 300 years. He covers the formation of the early regiments, their role in the expansion of the British Empire and the evolution of the command structure into its present form.
The problem of not knowing the regiment in which an ancestor served is mentioned and there are some valuable hints on making full use of fragmentary evidence from photographs, buttons, medals and other militaria. A great deal of archival material is available, particularly in the Public Record Office at Kew. This is not described in detail but there are excellent references to the main categories of information, printed lists and a bibliography.
There are four appendices covering, respectively, units of the British Army in the late 19th century, major campaigns during the reign of Queen Victoria, the variations in size of the army from the 16th century to the present and an up-to-date list of the units in the modern army.
If you know you have forbears who served in the British Army, but so far have made little or no effort to find out more about them, then this book is worth reading. It has been compiled by a professional soldier with appropriate experience of the army and of family history research.
In previous issues of The Escutcheon it has been possible to print details of some of the names being researched by Society members, and it is hoped that any members who have not yet taken advantage of this option will do so in time for the next issue. By indicating the surnames in your ancestry, together with their geographical locations and historical time-spans, the way is open for others with the same interests to collaborate with you.