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July 2009

Welcome to the July issue in which we focus on property, housing and the home. 

 We look at the problems of housing the nation, from the humble rural hovel and the city slum to the advent of social housing and home ownership. We also delve into the world of the poor laws, the workhouse and almshouses.

 At the other end of the social scale, Olde Crone Holden tells us about her ‘Manorial Holdens’, whose lineage she has traced back to the 12th century.

 Bo the Bodger describes the beautiful house in which she grew up, whilst Sherbertrose shares her amazing story that her grandfather actually built the house in which she lives. Michael uncovers carpenters, builders and masons in his ancestry and Rosie Knees looks at her beerhouse keepers. 

 For the ‘My Town’ feature this month, Jill on the A272 focuses on the Sussex county town of Lewes, with its rich heritage of historic buildings, and Just Gillian shares the story of her family treasure.

Housing the Nation

You’ve discovered where your ancestors lived on the census returns, found references to their residence in the parish registers and other records. But where exactly did they live? What were their living conditions like? The 1891 census was the first to provide us with...

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The Manorial Holdens

When I started my family history many years ago, I fell into conversation with an elderly man in the records office. When he heard that I was researching the Holdens, he said, "Ah, you'll be descended from the Manorial Holdens, no doubt". I smiled and said that I...

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My Childhood Home

When you live somewhere for a long time it is easy to become complacent about the house or home. It is only after having left home that I realised how much it had become part of me. Now that I am researching my mother’s family and coming across the remarkable fact...

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Grandad Built Our House

In the Spring/Summer of 1993 we had out-grown our old house, so we started house hunting with our young son. I always thought that I would 'know' when we had found the right house. However,  the house we chose had no special house number - we just liked it. We...

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The Poor and Indigent

Probably everyone with an interest in family genealogy will come across the term poor laws and the dreaded workhouse.  So, what were they and why? Family Tree Forum: Poor Law and Workhouse Records The Workhouse The National Archive: Poverty and the Poor Laws...

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Poor Law Records make sad reading

My paternal grandfather and six of his brothers all migrated from their small Wiltshire village to London, probably to find work, during the second half of the 19th century. I was going through the Westminster Poor Law records to see if I could discover the fates of...

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Almshouses are European Christian institutions, the first ones being established in Britain from the 10th century. The first recorded almshouse in Britain was founded in York by King Athlestan. They acquired their name from the tradition of alms giving to the poor....

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Beerhouse Keepers

Frederick William Cox became the owner of the 'Blue Man Inn' in Newark in about August 1873, as recorded in the Register of Licenses (Pursuant to The Licensing Act 1872) at the Nottingham Archives. Although not the owner, Frederick was already the licensee of the...

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The Family Craft

When I was younger my dad often mentioned how carpentry ran in his family. You'd never have guessed it from his efforts at assembling flat pack furniture, although I was told that two of the bookcases, as well as the cutlery box and a storage chest had been his work....

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A Very Special Cabinet

One of my mother’s most treasured possessions was a small wooden wall cabinet which her father, John, had made for her mother, Mary Ann. My grandmother was extremely proud of it and used it for storing her little private oddments. In her turn, my mother kept her own...

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The County Town of Lewes

Lewes is situated on the South Downs in the gap where the River Ouse flows southwards. It rewards exploration (provided you are good at climbing hills), and, even having known the town for 30 years, I discover something new every time I visit. The huge hump of Caburn...

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