While going through a family box of photos & ephemera a few weekends ago, I discovered that my grandmother had a third brother. Noel James MAY, son of William James & Doreen Alice (née BEVIN) MAY died in 1947, aged two, of a strangulated bowel. If I hadn’t gone through that box with Mum & my Aunty, I’d never have known about little Noel.
We also discovered that Doreen had a sister who died young; Mavis Mary Bevin died in 1921 shortly before her 14th birthday. A funeral card was in the family box, but without it we’d never have thought to look for another sibling!
I’ve also been in touch with one of Mum’s cousins, John, whose father Brian had a twin sister who died young. I’ll make a separate post about poor little Norah another time, but to sum up – she died aged 11, in 1941, from tuberculosis.
This feels like an appropriate place to show the other side of Mavis’ funeral card:
I admit, when I started building my family tree on Ancestry, I got super excited whenever I saw the shaky leaf symbol that indicated a hint and enthusiastically added the suggested person to my tree. Then I went back over it, trying to find the record that indicated a connection – and often found the hint was instead generated by someone else’s undocumented tree.
The problem with this is that, without a record or source for that info, trees quickly become quagmires of mix-ups, double-ups, and straight out errors. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen trees with several versions of the same spouse, or children born after their supposed parents died, or even names that don’t match the record they’re linked to! When you gather with other genealogy geeks, you quickly learn that trees on Ancestry are considered dubious, for these very reasons.
Part of that is because Ancestry is great at pushing DNA testing, but less so at introducing people to family history research. If you’re a newbie, as I was, you have to go elsewhere to figure out the first steps and standards of genealogical research.
I was lucky in that I’ve trained and worked as a researcher before, so I managed to avoid some of the pitfalls, and quickly worked out how to improve my research.
My 4x great-grandfather John William Outram was born on January 3rd, 1831 in Leicester, England, to John and Hannah (née East) Outram. He worked as a wool comber in the woollen mills in Bradford, Yorkshire, and on August 24th, 1850, married Betsy Rushworth, daughter of Michael and Sarah (née Sugden) Rushworth. Betsy also worked at the mills, as a weaver. They lived just south-west of Bradford city in Horton.
Neither John or Betsy had been educated, so John went to night school to learn to read and write. John later joined the Police force in Bradford. While in England, the couple had three children: Sarah in 1852, William in 1854, and Albert in 1856.
On 5 May 1858, John and Betsy left from London, England with their three children on the “NOURMAHAL” and several months later arrived at Port Chalmers, Dunedin, in New Zealand.
The land on either side of the harbour was clothed with bush to the water’s edge, and Betsy, looking round her from side to side and beholding nothing but beautiful virgin bush, asked her husband, “Where is Dunedin?”
They had their first meal in the Immigration Barracks on bread and water – a true prison diet, obtained without much difficulty. Not so easy was finding their sleeping accommodation. It almost seemed that they would have to sleep in the “lock- up”, but at last a place was found for them.
For the first few months in Otago, John found casual work in the bush and elsewhere, until 1859 when he joined the police force. When the gold rush began in 1861 he was stationed at Gabriel’s Gully, in charge of the area; in conjunction with Commissioner Strode & T.W. Parker he issued the first batch of miner’s rights granted in Otago. A few months later, however, he returned to Dunedin and resigned, with the rank of First Class Sergeant.
After a short spell of store-keeping on the goldfields, in 1862 he joined the gaol staff in Dunedin and became the Chief Overseer of Public Works done by prison labour, including the erection of the first bridge over the Anderson’s Bay Inlet. He supervised the prison gangs during the removal of Bell Hill, winning commendation from the Otago Daily Times on more than one occasion for having carried out his duties with such meticulous care and foresight that in all the 14 years of blasting & excavating, not one serious accident had occurred.
Unfortunately in 1878, while on duty, he himself suffered an accident which resulted in the loss of an eye. As a result of this mishap he retired on a pension of 188 pounds ($576) per year, with the rank of Sergeant, an efficient & highly respected officer.
In November 1859 he brought from the Crown Section 44, 45 & 46 of Block XIX, Dunedin. Selling two sections of these in 1875, he retained 46, on which his home had been built, and which became 64 Royal Terrace. This remained the home of the couple and their family throughout John’s working life & his retirement, and it was here that in August 1900 they celebrated their Golden Wedding in the company of 30 of their family, including 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Also present that day was the Reverend A. North of Hanover Street Baptist Church, for John had been an office-bearer and a stalwart supporter of that church for may years. John & Betsy have many present-day descendants still active in the Baptist Church.
In New Zealand, John and Betsy had added further to their family, with Joseph born in 1859, James in 1861, Hannah in 1864, Mary Ann in 1866, John Jr in 1869, and Ada in 1871. Their eldest daughter, Sarah, married Peter Rutherford, the well-known Caversham grocer, in 1874.
A grand-daughter, Mrs. Hilda Gilbert, once recalled that John took his wife and their daughter Hannah “home” to England for a holiday, only to find on their return that his pension had been terminated (September 1890). He petitioned Parliament, without success, and petitioned again. In 1893 Parliament agreed to a grant of 50 pounds ($100.00) a year, and with that he had to be content.
After the death of the couple, 64 Royal Terrace remained “home” for their unmarried son & daughter, Jim and Mary Ann, until it was sold in 1934 to R.T. Throp. Today there is no 64 Royal Terrace: the section was sold again in 1942 to the Dunedin City Council, the house was pulled down, and about 1960 the section was used to widen the newly-formed Corrie Street.
Betsy died on 20 November 1905, aged 77 years old, and John on 6 November 1909, aged 78 years old, both from heart disease. They are buried in the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.
Lockdown has deepened my obsession with interest in family history, so I’m planning to start blogging more often in order to share my research journey. This will include posts about how I’m researching & what I’ve found, as well as my own personal memories & life stories.
For starters, I’m going to share the publicly available basic details of my grandparents’ lines: A Family History. You can navigate to the pages about the various couples either by following the links embedded in the text, or by using the “Pages” menu to the right.
To me, family history is about making connections so I’d love to hear from you if we are/might be related. You can leave a comment here, or on my Instagram, or by emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of my usual genres in the first quarter of the year: history, murder mystery, poetry, sci-fi and fantasy. I highly recommend Ed West’s histories of England as they’re both comprehensive and comprehensible! And I really enjoyed reading R.C.J. Stone’s work, and look forward to finding more.
Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey Under Glass by Gregory Kan The Red Mother by Jeremy Haun Logan Campbell’s Auckland by R.C.J. Stone Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale This Paper Boat by Gregory Kan Solid Air by David Stavanger Young Knowledge by Michele Leggott Jacinda Adern by Michelle Duff One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara Central Station by Lavie Tidhar Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar The Affair by Lee Child
Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake Genealogy Online by Elizabeth Powell Crowe Nightwise by R.S. Belcher The Night Dahlia by R.S. Belcher The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R.S. Belcher Tracing Your Kent Ancestors by David Wright 1066 and Before All That by Ed West 1215 and All That by Ed West
A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries 1-3 by Dorothy L. Sayers The King Arthur Trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers The Best Crime Stories Ever Told ed. by Dorothy L. Sayers Becoming Queen by Kate Williams The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield The Miller’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer Persuasion by Jane Austen Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent Skin Deep by Liz Nugent The Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thomson Ghost Girl by Lesley Thomson Little Women & Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott Tracing Your Pauper Ancestors by Robert Burlison
This is going to be a huge post as I gave up making monthly updates!
Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly
The Safe Man by Michael Connelly
The Closers by Michael Connelly
Echo Park by Michael Connelly
The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The New Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The Sixth Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Witchcraft by Anastasia Greyleaf
The Last Place by Laura Lippman
Whisky From Small Glasses by Denzil Meyrick
The Overlook by Michael Connelly
All of a Winter’s Night by Phil Rickman
Gallowstree Lane by Kate London
Carved in Darkness by Maegan Beaumont
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
The Anglo-Saxon Age by John Blair
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
Blood Men by Paul Cleave
Thrill Seeker by Kristina Lloyd
Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost by Lucy Banks
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly
Dead Simple by Peter James
The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger by Lucy Banks
Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton
The Black Box by Michael Connelly
Saxons vs. Vikings by Ed West
Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
Snuff by Terry Pratchett
34 for the month
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Anthem by Neal Stephenson
The Case of the Hidden Daemon by Lucy Banks
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
Witchery by Juliet Diaz
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling
Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
Shadows by John Saul
The Complete Merrily Watkins Series by Phil Rickman
Liar Liar by James Patterson
Each Man Kills by David Barry
The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
Not Dead Enough by Peter James
Haunted Nights by Lisa Morton
Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
The Drop by Michael Connelly
Death is Not the Answer by Anjali Chhabria
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
Looking Good Dead by Peter James
23 for the month
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Artifical Condition by Martha Wells
Witchbody by Sabrina Scott
Toil & Trouble by Jessica Spotswood
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Wicca and Witchcraft by Denise Zimmerman
Dragon’s Kin by Anne McCaffrey
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
Enchantments by Mya Spalter
Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly
Switchblade by Michael Connelly
The Crossing by Michael Connelly
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
15 for the month
Cleaning the Gold by Karin Slaughter & Lee Child In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva Night Film by Marisha Pessl Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells Exit Strategy by Martha Wells Becoming Dangerous by Katie West Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon House of Fate by Barbara Ann Wright The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day Artemis by Andy Weir
12 for the month
The Complete History of New Zealand (in less than two hours) by Peter Jessup
Discover Your Roots by Paul Blake
Building the New World by Erik Olssen
Over the Wide and Trackless Sea by Megan Hutching
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
From Alba to Aotearoa by Rebecca Lenihan
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com by Nancy Hendrickson
Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes
Wicca by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors by Ian Maxwell
Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
Breaking the Lore by Andy Redsmith
Know Your Rites by Andy Redsmith
Starlings by Jo Walton
The Merciless by Daniell Vega
The Armored Saint by Myke Cole
Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
20 for the month
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
That Old Black Magic by Cathi Unsworth
Who Do You Think You Are? by Nick Barratt
Monster-Sized Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
For Kicks by Dick Francis
Even Money by Dick Francis
Steel Magic by Andre Norton
The Basis of Everything by Andrew Ramsey
No Idle Rich by Jim McAloon
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The Real Witches of New England by Ellen Evert Hopman
The Secret Country of Yourself by Jenya T. Beachy
Odds Against by Dick Francis
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng
Whip Hand by Dick Francis
Come to Grief by Dick Francis
Dead Heat by Dick Francis
Gamble by Felix Francis
Tracing your Family History on the Internet by Chris Paton
A Burden Shared by Jo Walton
Bloodline by Felix Francis
Settlers by Jock Phillips
Refusal by Felix Francis
Damage by Felix Francis
Front Runner by Felix Francis
Longshot by Dick Francis
How to Organize Family History Paperwork by Denise May Levenick
How to Archive Family Keepsakes by Denise May Levenick
Family history by Simon Fowler
How to Write Your Personal or Family History by Katie Wiebe
Writing Your Family History by Gill Blanchard
Rat Race by Dick Francis
The Edge by Dick Francis
The Danger by Dick Francis
Break In by Dick Francis
Dead Cert by Dick Francis
Flying Finish by Dick Francis
101 Brick Wall Busters ed. by F.T. Magazine
Blood Sport by Dick Francis
Forfeit by Dick Francis
The Sport of Queens by Dick Francis
In the Frame by Dick Francis
Second Wind by Dick Francis
Slay Ride by Dick Francis
Knock Down by Dick Francis
Smokescreen by Dick Francis
Driving Force by Dick Francis
Reflex by Dick Francis
Risk by Dick Francis
Wild Horses by Dick Francis
Proof by Dick Francis
Comeback by Dick Francis
Twice Shy by Dick Francis
Writing a Non-Boring Family History by Hazel Edwards
High Stakes by Dick Francis
Writing Your Family History by Deborah Cass
57 for the month
Bonecrack by Dick Francis
Triple Crown by Felix Francis
Decider by Dick Francis
Currents of Change by Darian Smith
To the Hilt by Dick Francis
Shattered by Dick Francis
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
My Family and Other Strangers by Jeremy Hardy
Straight by Dick Francis
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Hot Money by Dick Francis
Nerve by Dick Francis
Bolt by Dick Francis
10-Lb Penalty by Dick Francis
Crossfire by Dick Francis & Felix Francis
Banker by Dick Francis
Trial Run by Dick Francis
Silks by Dick Francis & Felix Francis
Under Orders by Dick Francis
Field of Thirteen by Dick Francis
Finding Family by Richard Hill
No One Noticed the Cat by Anne McCaffrey
Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey
Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
25 for the month
The Honours by Tim Clare
Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman
Enquiry by Dick Francis
Woman Most Wild by Danielle Dulsky
Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llywelyn
7 for the month
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan
London Falling by Paul Cornell
Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell
Chalk by Paul Cornell
Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? by Paul Cornell
The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell
A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Secret Life of John William Waterhouse by Nicholas Slack
Christmas Memories by Susan Waggoner
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
Blue Moon by Lee Child
I finished a lot of Michael Connelly this month. The worst part is waiting for the eBook to become available from the library. Let’s just say I have a lot of books on hold!
Also devoured a lot of Laura Lippman, whose Private Investigator protagonist reminds me fondly of Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. Gotta say I’m not hugely keen on the Baltimore setting as it’s an American city I have no interest in, but her writing and plots are strong enough to see me through.
I tried a few other crime writers in March: McIlvanney, Ellison, Peter James. None of them really grabbed me. I think I’m about to admit defeat when it comes to Tartan Noir too. Stuart MacBride & Val Dermid aside, it’s not for me.
My health has continued to be a problem, so I topped off my list with a few Pratchett faves, which are the ultimate in comfort reading. The Night Watch series is probably my all time favourite collection, although I’m partial to the witches and Death as well!
Fifty Years of Wicca by Frederic Lamond Firechild by Maxine Sanders A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox Suicide Run by Michael Connelly Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter The Immortals by J.T. Ellison Charm City by Laura Lippman Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb The Pool of Two Moons by Kate Forsyth Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman In Big Trouble by Laura Lippman The Sugar House by Laura Lippman Sugar Bowl Series by Sawyer Bennett Laidlaw by William McIlvanney The Cursed Towers by Kate Forsyth Need You Dead by Peter James All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison Roma by Steven Saylor Communing with the Ancestors by Raven Grimassi City of Bones by Michael Connelly Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman Odin by Diana L. Paxson The Reversal by Michael Connelly The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett Jingo by Terry Pratchett The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett Thud! by Terry Pratchett Lost Light by Michael Connelly The Truth by Terry Pratchett Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko The Narrows by Michael Connelly Night Watch by Terry Pratchett In A Strange City by Laura Lippman Blood Work by Michael Connelly
I’ve been struggling with focus and motivation recently, so I was surprised to see that I finished 34 books in Feb. Mostly novels, particularly books in series’ by authors I enjoy like Michael Connelly & Candice Fox (crime/mystery) or Steven Saylor & Ruth Downie (crime/mystery set in Ancient Rome).
Eden by Candice Fox Never Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox The Venus Throw by Steven Saylor A Murder on the Appian Way by Steven Saylor Terra Icognita by Ruth Downie Fall by Candice Fox Black & Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda Light the Dark by Joe Fassler It’s OK to Feel Things Deeply by Carissa Potter A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie Rubicon by Steven Saylor Meditation by Matteo Pistono Llewellyn’s Little Book of Meditation by David Pond Last Seen in Massilia by Steven Saylor A Mist of Prophecies by Steven Saylor A Small Weeping by Alex Gray The Judgement of Caesar by Steven Saylor They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly Angels Flight by Michael Connelly Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood The Triumph of Caesar by Steven Saylor Rivals of the Republic by Annelise Freisenbruch Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie School Ties by Tamsen Parker The Lies You Tell by Ruth Mancini Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie Vita Brevis by Ruth Downie Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth Dancing with Witches by Lois Bourne
A new year, a new list. Up until a few days ago, I felt like I’d hardly ready anything this month, but apparently I’ve cranked out quite a few novels! Only five non-fic books made my Jan list; the rest was genre fic, mostly mystery stuff. All in all, I finished 32 books in January.
I’m making my way through Michael Connelly’s back catalogue after picking up “The Late Show”, which was published mid-2017. The old stuff is a little dated, but in a very entertaining “L.A. noir in the ’90s” way.
I also stumbled across Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa novels, which are mysteries set in the ancient Roman Republic. I’ve been a fan of Lindsey Davis’ Falco series for a long time, and Saylor’s mysteries are in a similar vein – but with less humour and a touch more history. I’ve loved historical novels set in ancient Rome since reading Rosemary Sutcliff as a child, and doubled down on all things Roman while studying Classics in high school (and laughing myself silly at Juvenal’s Satires).
Making Money by Terry Pratchett Woman Most Wild by Danielle Dulsky Witch by Lisa Lister A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff Transformative Witchcraft by Jason Mankey The Thief of Light by Bernard Schaffer Light Magic for Dark Times by Lisa Marie Basile Crimson Lake by Candice Fox Ill Will by Dan Chaon Redemption Point by Candice Fox The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros Lethal Kisses ed. by Ellen Datlow Hades by Candice Fox The Late Show by Michael Connelly The Black Echo by Michael Connelly The Black Ice by Michael Connelly The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly Trunk Music by Michael Connelly The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly The Poet by Michael Connelly Mulholland Drive by Michael Connelly Roman Blood by Steven Saylor The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka The Seven Wonders by Steven Saylor Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor The House of the Vestals by Steven Saylor A Gladiator Only Dies Once by Steven Saylor Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor Catilina’s Riddle by Steven Saylor