Thursday, 17 November 2011

Family Tree Back to 1753

Out of the six generations of farmers, I and my father were the only ones to benefit from the use of tractors,
I am second of four, father was eldest of four, grandfather was one of eight, G. grandfather was youngest of seven, G.G. grandfather was youngest of eight, and my G.G.G. grandfather was born in 1753

In these modern days of computers and search engines like Google, it makes it relatively easy to follow back into records that you may never have known exist, all done from the comfort of a chair. There are a few relatives that we have been in touch with who we may never otherwise have known, and there are far more folk doing their family tree than you would ever expect.

A family wedding group of Henry and Bertha in 1872
 You can see the same old house as it is now, different owners as it's now a hotel, it has a tiled roof and is a wedding venue and the above picture is included in their brochure

Matilda  1848 at that time it was all thatched including the porch you can see the same old house now different owners as it now a hotel it has no thatch

 Littywood Manor Farm as it was , and this is how it is now  --

Its only when you find someone on a distant branch of your own tree that they can be merged to fill out a broader picture.Looking at very old wedding groups, to see and realise that the little lad sitting cross legged in the front row was your grandfather, and the old and stern lady with a bun hair do and a hat sitting on top was his mother. Then sorting out the two sets of grand parents and the four sets of great grand parents, not necessarily in the same photograph, it gets confusing, and they all have the habit of dying at widely different ages, and between one group photo and the next, some go missing and some new ones born.

Half the job involves looking round church yards reading information off the grave stones, and even in our case an engraved stone in the pub next door, he must have been a very good customer or owned the pub as well as farmed next to the church.

Out of the six generations of farmers, myself and my father were the only ones to benefit from the use of tractors, prior to that the modern or new machinery would be the binder for cutting and tying the shoffs of corn, and the horse drawn mowing machine to replace cutting grass with the scythe. The ginney ring to convert horse power into a rotating shaft in turn to power barn machinery, a winnower to separate the grain from the chaff, and grain would be taken down to the wind mill or water mill, for grinding into flour. Eventually a barn engine would be installed to drive a line of shafting connecting all the barn machinery to this one engine, usually (this is in my time) it was a root cutter and cleaner, a chaff cutter, a cake crusher, and a grinding mill.

A quarter of the farms land would be to feed the horse's, oats and the straw for bedding, plus a handy field of turf to turn them out at night, and enough grass land to make hay for them. A work horse can eat as much hay as two cows, so total farm output was severely diminished.

Man power was abundant, and a hundred and forty acre farm would have five or six men working outside round the farm, (now it's barley able to support one man in work and income), the younger single male workers living in, in the farm house, then in the farm house would a number of women making butter and cheese and other menial house hold chores.

There is still evidence in our house where the lodgers, or farm lads used to live, they had a back stair case and one room upstairs, the walls were always of lime wash. A dividing door on the landing up stairs was kept bolted from the farmers side, this enabled him to ensure they got up early, every morning. I heard tell from a chap who used to live in such accommodation that they lived on rabbit pie seven days a week and milk puddings and porridge oats, presumably snaffled from under the horses feed store.

He said he had never had rabbit pie from the day he left that farm till the day he dies, such was the misery that some of them endured as young farm servants.

Some families, like us stayed rooted within a few miles from where they were "dropped", marrying local, some strayed and spread all over the country. We have one lad born in 1840 who went to Australia and another who went to USA in the 1880's and had four children out there, so no doubt we should have relatives to find and visit world wide.

Of coarse there is, as in every family, the odd ones who we would prefer not to mention by name, such as the one who got a little thirsty (living next to the pub, or did he own it?) One who married a girl of sixteen after already having a child by him in the 1860's; they did go on to have another seven children the youngest of which was my grandfather.

I am the second of four, my father was eldest of four, my grandfather was one of eight, G. grandfather was youngest one of seven, G.G. grandfather was youngest of eight, and my G.G.G. grandfather was born in 1753, not found his family out yet but it is getting more difficult as you get that far back.

Not started mothers side of the family yet but she was one of nine, being a twin they were seventh and eighth born, so they will be an interesting search back into the great grand parents.

Mother's mother lost her husband soon after the last one was born, and had a farm to run, the eldest ones helped, but we were told grandma would often be seen out ploughing with a pair of shires, she was a big strong women of six foot, I remember her as not quite so tall being a little bent with age and labour. Grandma also was a big "Chapel" organist (in a little Chapel), pumping the organ vigorously with her feet and singing very loudly, then the Chapel did only hold about twenty, and all the kids had to attend twice every Sunday.

Click on the tag "Chaple" there is a picture of that same old chaple as it is today, it is used by the local scout group
So as you see, it will occupy many hour of time and searching, and visiting the different houses and farms that they had occupied at some time in the past, plus the church yards where they were finally laid to rest.

Our Family Tree

A family tree were working on, to see from where we came,
Of people who we never knew, we all have the same name,
We all remember our own grandma and grandpa as well,
But they remember their old folk, a tale of old to tell.

Big families of eight or nine, and some they lost quite young,
Some they stayed as spinsters or bachelors un sung,
Working on estates and farms, in houses cold and damp
Some on their own farms, on land their mark to stamp.

Looking back on old grave stones, name chiselled bold and clear,
Got to look where they're christened who their parents were,
Who they met and married, the families joined and spread,
The kids that came along so quick, along same paths we tread.

We scour along old census records from many years gone by,
See the age of head of household and all who lived and why,
Some left home at early age for to find some work,
Spread around the villages, none of them to shirk.

Need a bigger sheet of paper, as the families spread and grow,
William Thomas Charles and John, reoccur in all lines we know.
Now were back to where were found, back to 1753 we tow,
Following all the records of, the church and census as we go.

Our turn will come soon enough, as time it flashes by,
Never know when that will be, its better laugh than cry,
Name and date of birth and death, chiselled into stone,
A patch of good old England, neath turf that's our last home.


It's easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.
Al Franken

Many men can make a fortune but very few can build a family.J. S. Bryan.

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