What To Do With My Blog

Over the last few years I’ve only written a few blog posts. I don’t want to give up blogging altogether but I need to work out a way to make it fit into my current life and work habits. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been mostly working on other people’s family trees my blogging has dropped off. I used to blog mostly about my own family history and don’t feel free to blog about my client’s history without asking specifically and that can take time. I like to blog when the mood strikes me or something piques my interest which I would like to share so by the time permission has been given I’ve lost the urge.

Technology and the way we use it has changed dramatically since I first started blogging nearly 20 years ago. I wonder how many people read my blog on phones these days instead of on laptops or desktop computers…….. I don’t read as many blogs as I used to. I use Facebook a lot and read a lot of articles linked to from there and watch a lot of videos too. I have considered making genealogy videos about my own family history and about the tips and tricks I continue to learn as I keep researching and attending webinars and seminars.

I love the Youtube vloggers that I follow and watch their content avidly, always happy when a new video comes out but I don’t know that I could fit regular vlogging into my schedule. I don’t have the equipment necessary however I could use the new equipment at Makerspace Adelaide where I am a member and volunteer. I would like to do the occasional video though and they may be genealogy related or one of my other hobbies and interests (which I will still post here).

I now have four grandchildren and two of them with special needs. Ilijah is on the autism spectrum, he’s just started school this year and the youngest Naomi has Osteogenesis Imperfecta also known as Brittle Bone Disease. I help out with babysitting where I can and also transport to medical appointments and sporting events. Josiah the eldest is a talented and keen footballer (Aussie Rules).

I still get some cousin contacts via my blog so I definitely don’t want to take it down or stop blogging altogether I just need to come up with a format and style which works for me. I won’t make any promises about new content because life so often gets in the way but I will say, “watch this space”.

Rossiter’s Boot Factory

I visited my Mum yesterday and we were reminiscing about shops in Gawler St, Mount Barker, South Australia near where I grew up. Mum mentioned something about sewing and I had an instant flashback to walking past an open door in Gawler St as a child and hearing the loud clattering of many sewing machines running. Mum said these were industrial sewing machines at Rossiter’s Boot Factory and I would have only been about four or five years old 1973/74. We looked at lots of other shops and the changes around Mt Barker but the memory of the boot factory stuck with me so I did some research this morning.

1945 ‘Hills Boot Factory Opens Monday’, News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), 11 May, p. 4. , viewed 15 May 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127034428

The factory opened 14 May 1945. On 14 May 2019, seventy four years later Mum and I were standing where the factory used to be talking about it.

Map of old Mt Barker businesses

Mt Barker Blacksmiths And Other Businesses

The Mt Barker factory was a branch of the Unley factory and today is Rossi Boots. Here is some of their history.

A Quaker Wedding In 1841

William Harding Birchall sits on a distant branch of my family tree.  We aren’t blood relatives however when one of his descendants contacted me with a question my interest was piqued.   The Birchalls were Quakers and these are the first Quaker records I have come across in my research.

This marriage record is very hard to read so I downloaded it and opened it in the graphics editor I use called GIMP.

Thanks to Tim Banks, a direct descendant, for the certificate. He owns the original which is a large document he has framed and hung above his computer.

Using the automatic white balance feature and adjusting the brightness and contrast made the image readable when enlarged.

This is the transcription:

William Harding Birchall of Leeds in the county of York, Stuff Merchant, son of Edwin Birchall of the same place and occupation, and Elizabeth his wife, and Lucy Hutchinson of Bishop Auckland in the county Palatine of Durham, daughter of the late John Hutchinson of Helmsley in the county of York aforesaid and Hannah his wife, having declared their intention of taking each other in marriage before the Monthly Meeting of Friends, commonly called Quakers, of Darlington in the county of Palatine of Durham aforesaid, the proceedings of the said William Harding Birchall and Lucy Hutchinson, after due inquiry and deliberate consideration thereof, were allowed by the said Meeting, they appearing clear of all others and having consent of surviving Parents.

Now these are to certify that for the accomplishing of their said marriage, this twentieth day of the tenth month in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty one they, the said William Harding Birchall and Lucy Hutchinson appeared at a public assembly of the aforesaid people in their meeting house at Bishop Auckland; and he, the said William Harding Birchall taking the said Lucy Hutchinson by the hand, declared as followeth: “Friends, I take this my friend Lucy Hutchinson to be my wife, promising, through Divine assistance, to be unto her a loving and faithful husband, until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us.” And the said Lucy Hutchinson did then and there in the said assembly, declare as followeth: “Friends, I take this my friend William Harding Birchall to be my husband, promising, through Divine assistance, to be unto him a loving and faithful wife, until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us.”

And the said William Harding Birchall and Lucy Hutchinson, as a further confirmation thereof, and in testimony thereunto, did then and there to these present set their hands.

We being present at the above said marriage have also inscribed our names as witnesses thereunto the day and year above written.

It appears that everyone present at the wedding signed the certificate, at the bottom on the right hand side there is a separate column where relatives have signed.

I love their simple vows, short and sweet.  Do you have Quakers in your family?  Is this a typical marriage certificate and ceremony?

January Genea Pourri

January Genea Pourri

I have been inspired by Jill aka GeniAus and Alex at Family Tree Frog to write about what genealogy related things I’ve been up to.

Early in the month I started a new 6 generation pedigree tree for a customer.  These are some of the things I have found out so far:

  • one ancestor had a joint patent on the South Australian icon the Stobie pole with the inventor James Cyril Stobie 
  • another was instrumental in opening up the goldfields in Kalgoorlie/Boulder in Western Australia and was knighted for their efforts at home during World War I.
  • one was a postage stamp printer and their grandfather was a pioneering printer in Glasgow, Scotland.

I’m currently using a combination of Ancestry, Find My Past, Family Search, Scotland’s People, National Library of Scotland, Trove, Google Books/Maps/Newspapers, State Library of South Australia to research this family.

Although it’s an online tree that I’m building I still use a Family Group Sheet word processor document to record family members who I’m not sure belong in the tree I’m creating, so while I still have questions about them I’ll keep them in a document until I’m sure they belong in the online tree.

I maintain a Facebook group Saving Graves South Australia as well as the public page which goes with it Say No To Reuse of Graves.  There has been lots of activity lately as we were shocked to find out just last week that human bones had been found in a rubbish heap at Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia.  Adelaide Cemeteries Authority has assured our members that they’re conducting an internal review of procedures.  We are encouraging our members to keep in touch with the ACA and follow-up on this event.

I have visitors stay with me from the couchsurfing.com website.  Just recently a lovely woman from England who is a military history buff stayed with me.  She had heard about a military museum on Yorke Peninsula and wanted to know if there was public transport to get there.  She was disappointed when I explained that there was no public transport and hiring a car would cost too much.  I decided to take her and we set off on our road trip.  It took us three hours to get there but it was well and truly worth it.  This large museum covers many buildings and contains not just military memorabilia but many historical artefacts and photos.

Bublacowie Military Museum


Isaac Ludlam Executed For Treason

The Pentrich Revolution

Jeremiah Brandreth, William Turner and Isaac Ludlam were considered the revolution ring leaders and labelled the Pentrich Three.  With over 500 men they set out to march on London to petition the King to better workers’ rights.

Jeremiah Brandreth, or the `Nottingham Captain’, was to actually lead the rebellion. Despite some rather wild stories about his origins, Brandreth was an unemployed framework knitter from Sutton in Ashfield. He had, almost certainly, been involved in Luddite activities.

Sunday 8th June 1817, Brandreth spoke at a crowded meeting in the White Horse Inn in Pentrich………

The rebels assembled at 10 am at Hunt’s Barn in Garner’s Lane, South Wingfield, to march to Ripley. The march route.

There was a traitor to the rebellion, in their midst, and they were stopped at Eastwood the following day.

By early morning, the two groups had come together again and had reached Eastwood. There, two magistrates accompanied by twenty fully armed men and Officers of the 15th Light Dragoons, met them. Mundy, one of the magistrates, afterwards described the confrontation: “we came in sight of the mob who though at three quarters of a mile’s distance from us no sooner saw the troops, then they fled in all directions…throwing away their arms”. Not a single shot was fired and, within a very short space of time, 48 men were captured. Some, however, stayed at large for quite a while. Isaac Ludlam was arrested at Uttoxeter, Brandreth at Bulwell………..

…….. all of the prisoners were isolated until the time of their trial in Derby; their relatives sold everything, down to their beds, to provide funds for their defence and a committee was formed in London to campaign for their release. 46 men of Pentrich, South Wingfield, Alfreton and Heanor, were indicted at the Derby Assizes on 26th July 1817 as having committed High Treason, along with “a multitude of false traitors, …500 or more”. The overwhelming majority of those on trial were labourers and framework knitters, but there was one each of a farmer, tailor, blacksmith and sawyer.

On 7 Nov 1817 Jeremiah Brandreth, Isaac Ludlam and William Turner were executed by hanging and beheading.

These sites provide more information about Isaac Ludlam and the Pentrich Revolution.

At the bottom right hand corner of the above image are my grandparents Jim and Bette Hardy.   Charles T Hardy my great grandfather changed his name from Wigley to Hardy as did my Grandfather.  If you follow the tree upwards you will find Isaac Ludlam near the top right hand corner.  Isaac Ludlam and Obadiah Wigley married sisters.  Isaac was also a witness at Obadiah and Mary Wheatcroft’s wedding.

In researching this blog post I’ve also found out that William Wheatcroft, Mary’s brother also took part in the revolutionary march.  That’s three brothers in law who took part.  William and Obadiah suffered no direct repercussions  however, as stated above, their relatives sold everything, down to their beds, to provide funds for their defence. 

The defeat in court and the deaths of Brandreth, Turner and Ludlam must have had a huge impact on them but Isaac’s death would have had the biggest of all.  Fourteen of their fellow revolutionaries were transported to Australia, six were jailed in England, twelve were tried and freed and many more were apprehended but not charged.

Obadiah and Mary Wigley moved to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire some time between the revolution and Obadiah’s death in 1828.  This move affected their son James as you can see in this blog post.

James Wigley – 2017 Update

James Wigley – 2017 Update

I’ve been doing some more research into James’ life and rather than do a whole new blog post with links to this one I thought it would be easier to understand if I put the updates in a different coloured font here.

James Wigley is my 4x great grandfather. There are some family stories about James and some mysteries so I’m researching these to ascertain fact from fiction.

James was born in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, England to Obadiah and Mary Wigley (nee Wheatcroft) on 12 March 1807.

James’ first wife was either Jane Brock or Jane Carousa.  They were married in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.  On their son Charles Robert Wigley’s death record it lists his mother as Jane Brock but the only marriage of a James Wigley in Nottinghamshire at the right time is one to a Jane Carousa.  So I’ve emailed the Nottinghamshire archives and will be sending off for the parish register entry to see if this can shed any light on Jane’s surname.   If this doesn’t help then I’ll get a copy of the marriage license.  I got an email back from the Nottinghamshire Archives and as they don’t have a payment method I can use I’ve contacted a research agent instead.

I didn’t follow through with the research agent, at the time, however I was able to order documents via the Nottinghamshire Family History Society.  Jane was approximately 32 years old when she married James so I believe that she had been married previously hence the different surnames.  I will continue searching for Jane’s origins.  This is further complicated by that fact that she says on the 1841 census that she was born in Jamaica.

22 December 2017 update Samuel Barratt, who took part in the Pentrich Revolution with James’ father Obadiah, was a witness to James and Jane’s marriage. https://blog.kyliesgenes.com/2017/12/isaac-ludlam-executed-for-treason/


James and Jane had five children Mary, Grace, Charles, Eliza, Ellen.  In 1843 Jane and two of the children, Eliza and Grace, died in a house fire in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, UK.  I just recently found out that Mary didn’t die in the fire.  I will need to find death records to confirm if Eliza and Grace died then too.

In the 1841 census Jane was living in Nottinghamshire with Mary, Charles, Eliza and Ellen.  It appears that Grace died as an infant also James isn’t listed as being in the household either.  So far I haven’t been able to confirm or deny the story of the fire however, if it did happen, it would have only been Jane and Eliza who died in the fire as Mary, Ellen and Charles went on to marry and have families.  

I’ve been told that James stole the plans to a lace making machine and went to France and sold them there.  I don’t know that this story can ever be verified though.  It just may not be possible.

photo of James Wigley

James Wigley

When I think of James Wigley it always gets me thinking about this story of the lace making machine and taking the plans to France so I googled ‘English lace makers in France’ and came across an article from a genealogist right here in Adelaide, South Australia!!  Graham Jaunay writes about the Lacemakers of Calais in South Australia.  

The Calais Lacemakers were English men who designed, built and maintained the extremely complex lace-making machines that had been originally developed in Nottingham. Despite the best efforts by the British to keep the manufacturing process a secret, the techniques were leaked to France and the industry developed in the Calais region using British experience and skills. After the British got over the loss of their monopoly everything was fine until the 1848 Revolution that proved to be an economic disaster for the workers as their factories were closed and English owners returned to England. The workers were faced with destitution if they remained in France or returned to England. G. Jaunay

From there I found the Lacemakers of Calais website which says: 

With very low profits and high wages in England, around 1816 one Robert Webster, with an accomplice Samuel Clark, smuggled a machine into Calais. The machine was dismantled, packaged as old iron and shipped on numerous boats to Calais. Clarke reassembled it in a shop on quai du Commerce in the village of Saint-Pierre, outside the walls of Calais itself. 

James Wigley was only nine years old in 1816 so it is highly unlikely that he was involved with Robert Webster and Samuel Clark so that part of the family story may not be true however lacemaking in Calais went on for many more years and there are more tidbits which point to James perhaps being in France.  He wasn’t listed in the 1841 English census as being in the household in Nottingham with his wife and children and I haven’t been able to find him anywhere else in the UK.  Could he have been in France at this time?  I am currently going through the French census for 1841, for Calais, page by page as it isn’t indexed yet.  The lace makers who went to Calais were from Nottinghamshire where James lived.

James’ name isn’t on the Lacemakers of Calais website as one of those who left in 1848 and came to Australia however he does show up in Stepney, Middlesex, England where he marries Maria (as below) and then proceeds to South Australia in 1849.

Between 1841 and 1848 Charles Robert Wigley could have been in France with his father. (see below) 

In July 1848 James married Maria Lihou nee Bray and in 1849 he took the family to South Australia.  James and Maria, Maria’s daughter Sarah Lihou and Ellen and Charles.  There they lived in Burra for a time before moving to Victoria.

James’ son Charles Robert Wigley who I’ve mentioned above is said to have gone to boarding school in France and that he forgot how to speak English.  Apparently there was a sign on his house in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia which said, “French spoken here”.

I’ll keep adding updates as I find out more.