Category: Making Memories

Sentimental Sunday: My visit to the charming village of Curry Rivel in Somerset

Category: Making Memories

Whilst away recently on a short break, hubby and I took the opportunity to stop off at the quaint village of Curry Rivel on our return journey. Tucked away in the Somerset countryside, the village features a church, parts of which date back to the Norman period, a village green and some lovely character properties.

St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel
St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel

Curry Rivel was the home of my Weaver family for centuries; my 6 x great-grandparents married in St Andrew's Church on 5th August 1745 and there is evidence of numerous generations of Weavers living there before them. I've been reluctant to include these generations in my tree without further documentation but I may revisit this again some time in the future and take a view.

Whilst I explored the churchyard I happened upon three Weaver headstones, one of which belonged to my 4 x great-grandparents, Robert Weaver and his wife, Sarah nee Street. Robert and Sarah were 80 and 82 years old respectively when they passed away.

The headstone of Robert Weaver and his wife, Sarah nee Street
The headstone of Robert Weaver and his wife, Sarah nee Street

Inside the church, on the War Memorial board I saw the name of my great-grandfather, Henry James Weaver. Someone had taken the trouble to compile a folder entitled, "Men of Curry Rivel Who Died in the Great War 1914-1918". Killed in September 1916, Henry had stood or knelt at the altar of this same church only nine months earlier when he'd married his bride, Florence Smale.

The altar inside St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel
The altar inside St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel

I wrote in the visitor's book and, at the last minute, I went back and added my email address. By a strange co-incidence, three days later, I received an email from the great-grand-daughter of one of Henry's sisters who had just visited the church and had seen my message.

A committee, formed in 1919, decided the main village War Memorial should be situated "on the roadside, on the King's highway, so that not only the inhabitants of this district could see it, but also all those who passed by on that road ..." Henry is remembered on this memorial which was dedicated at a moving service attended by the whole village on 7th November 1920. I have no idea if there were any representatives from the Smale side of the family (his widow and child lived in Tavistock in West Devon) but I would imagine Henry's parents, and perhaps some of his siblings, would have been present.

The War Memorial at Curry Rivel
The War Memorial at Curry Rivel

My gran (Henry and Florence's daughter), lost touch with her father's side of the family after she was orphaned when she was quite small. Later, in 1939, she travelled to Curry Rivel from her home in Tavistock with my mum who was then a baby, to see if she could find family. She asked someone whether there were any Weavers still in the village and was directed to the home of her Uncle Dick (Richard Arthur Weaver) and his wife, Alice. I believe Dick wasn't there at the time but to my gran's amazement, the person who came to the door was her 91 year old grandfather, William Henry Weaver (1848-1944). They were both thrilled - my gran hadn't known the old man was still alive.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you may like to take a moment to view the short video I took during my brief visit.

[Why Sentimental Sunday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Visiting Westminster College, Cambridge

Category: Making Memories

Last week, Harvey and I took a short break, spending time in the Cambridgeshire/Essex/Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire area. Whilst we were there, we visited Westminster College in Cambridge, a centre for learning within the United Reformed Church, which also houses several sets of archives:
  • The records of Cheshunt College (including correspondence with the Countess of Huntingdon).
  • The Presbyterian Church of England archive.
  • The United Reformed Church History Society collection.
  • The records of Westminster College.
  • The Churches of Christ archive.

Westminster College
Westminster College, Cambridge

I've mentioned before how my 6 x great-grandfather, John Dando the elder, wrote to the Countess of Huntingdon in 1771, having first been introduced by letter by Rev'd Rowland Hill, an itinerant preacher with whom John was acquainted.

Rev'd Hill wrote…

"According to your Ladysps orders I have spoken to a Hatter who has sent his terms in Letter By Mr. Hawksworth. I shall also this evening speak to a clothier who shall also write you his terms. as I believe them both to be real Xtians I hope there is no reason to doubt but you will have Xtian treatment from ym both."

Letter written by Rowland Hill

Letter written by Rowland Hill
Letter written by Rev'd Rowland Hill to the Countess of Huntingdon
(Click the images above to see larger versions.)

In his letter, John informed the Countess of the price of his hats and went on to discuss the evangelical revival taking place in his area. This would, no doubt, have been of interest to the Countess who had founded the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist Church.

Letter written by John Dando

Letter written by John Dando
Letter written by John Dando to the Countess of Huntingdon
(Click the images above to see larger versions.)

It was great to see the original letter in person and I would like to mention the wonderful enthusiasm of Helen, the archivist at the College.

The Lodge at Westminster College
The Lodge at Westminster College, Cambridge

Westminster College is a lovely Grade II listed building with some beautiful architecture and I especially liked the library and the Chapel. Had I known in advance that they offer accommodation, I think I'd have been tempted to stay for a couple of days!

Letters reproduced here with the permission of the Trustees of the Cheshunt Foundation, Westminster College, Cambridge.
Rev'd Rowland Hill Letter Reference: (F1/1200)
John Dando Letter Reference: (F1/141)


[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

The Partial Solar Eclipse

Category: Making Memories

Partial Solar Eclipse  Partial Solar Eclipse

Click the images above to see a larger version.

For the 'Making Memories' category, here are a couple of images of the partial solar eclipse which I took last week (Friday 20th March 2015) from the back garden. Quite a spectacle!

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Surname Saturday: Doing the Deed!

Category: Making Memories

The Deed is done! What Deed...I hear you say. The Deed Poll, that's what!

No this isn't a riddle or a joke and it's not a hypothetical either. For some time now, I've been considering incorporating my maiden name back into my name. My interest in family history, together with a strong desire to identify with my heritage, has spurred this decision on. So I ordered a pack from UK Deed Poll Service - and now I'm officially called Anne Mary Hibbitt BARNES.

I'm an advocate for the institution of marriage and have no desire to have a different surname to my husband so Hibbitt is now my second middle name, although it was my surname at birth. For any married women out there who don't want to completely abandon their maiden name, a Deed Poll is an excellent way of keeping hold of it.

As to my Christian name, although informally I like to be known as Annie (and I shall continue in this vein), I decided that I should still formally be known as Anne. This is, and always has been, my proper name (given to me at birth and the one I was baptized with) and therefore, I don't think I should want to change it now. In effect, all I have done is put back what was mine in the first instance, not altering or adding to it.

Of course, most people won't notice anything different but I will know and that's important to me. From now on, I can put Hibbitt on official forms. I've yet to complete the task of changing all my official documents - for some this could be laborious and is what has made me hesitate until now. However, getting ones documents changed is part of the point of it, as well as being a legal requirement, so I've finally bitten the bullet and gone for it.

Once more, I have that connection with my blood line reflected in my name. Who knows, maybe a descendant will stumble across my headstone in 200 years time, or discover me in the paper trail (or digital footprint), see the name and make that connection too!

[Why Surname Saturday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

The 2011 Census - family history in the making

Category: Making Memories

The 2011 CensusMy household questionnaire for the 2011 England and Wales Census arrived this week and after thumbing through it I decided to put down a few of my thoughts, from a genealogical point of view that is.

This is your chance to be part of history. Many family historians appreciate the invaluable information contained within the 19th and early 20th century censuses, which are currently available to them. Although these records may contain only basic information they do help us to locate our ancestors and glimpse at their lifestyles via their addresses and occupations.

Turning to the new 2011 census, whilst it does supply a great deal more detail for the future genealogist, I was surprised and dismayed to find that middle names are to be omitted, although full dates of birth are required. Again, a specific place of birth is not requested, only the country. I began to worry for our descendants that they'll have a difficult time tracking down ancestors with common names who were born in England or Wales, etc.

Of course, by then, who knows what other sources will become available to support the particulars they find on us in the census? For instance, might they have access to old household bills in the same way that we can view old telephone and street directories now, or will this type of material still be viewed as confidential in 100 years or so?

What about our personal musings on Twitter, Facebook and the like? And of course, our websites and blogs? The Internet Archive is busy recording much of what it finds online by means of its 'Wayback Machine'. The 'Machine' has already captured my own family history site twice. Imagine how our descendants might feel if they search for their ancestors, to find all our efforts pop up on their screens (assuming screens are still in use at that stage) after we, and our websites, are long gone!

In view of this, why not publish your own reflections as you complete your census forms and maybe one day your future relatives might search for and discover this personal account to compliment your household schedule. You could post to your blog or to your favourite social networking site or even ask a friend to put your thoughts on their pages if you don't have access to these facilities.

We have a choice of whether to complete the 2011 census online or post back our paper questionnaires. In trying to decide which method to choose I endeavoured to find out what would become of our paper questionnaires. Apparently, they are to be destroyed after they have been scanned. However, images of the actual questionnaires are to be securely stored on microfilm and kept confidential for the usual 100 years. Therefore, if you like the idea of your descendants seeing your own hand (albeit printed) and signature, then you might want to use the old-fashioned method and put pen to paper.

You could copy or scan your questionnaire before sending it back and keep it in your family archive. Then perhaps some of those who come after you won't have to wait 100 years to discover that you have gas central heating!
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