Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ancestors

What a sink hole of time is genealogy.  You tell yourself that you will just have a quick look, figure out who your great-great grand parents were, get a bit of a sense of the family history.  Then the next thing you know you are spending your spare time transcribing 19th century church records into spreadsheets, so that some reasonable level of correlation and analysis is possible, and chatting to other researchers about interpreting really difficult handwriting.

And I mean bad: I've worked for doctors and lawyers, and they are not even in the running for illegibility compared to some of what I've dealt with recently.  Between the erratic spelling of place names - some of which are pretty strange to begin with (Hurtletoot, I'm looking at you), the splotches and smears caused by old fashioned ink pens, and the extremely indifferent handwriting of people who had little or no formal schooling, and you begin to look forward to the entries where the officiating minister wrote all the names, and everybody else just wrote an "X" next to the words "his mark" (or "her mark").

However, the marriage records make interesting reading.  You can follow the changes in occupations - almost none of the brides had occupations before about 1955; after that, few of them didn't have an occupation, unless they were very young.  And the change in given names is interesting - in the early records they are all James, John, Mary, Margaret, Archibald, Alexander, William, Elizabeth, Annie, Jeannie; but 1965 there are people called Stanley, Gerald, Nancy, Pauline, Dora, Josephine.  The big change comes at the beginning of World War II, when there must have been soldiers and airmen stationed near the town I am working on, people from other parts of the country.  They started marrying local girls, and in quite a few cases it appears that a brother or sister who attended the first wedding met someone they liked while they were there, and a few months later there would be another wedding.

And the men's occupations change - originally the men were all farmers or worked in the flax mills, or as weavers.  Slowly engineers begin to crop up, school teachers, chemists, business managers, lorry drivers, even a detective.  People began to live longer, and marry later.

The end is in sight: two volumes of marriage records to go.

3 comments:

Beauty Bee said...

Hi Melodie,

I hope you don't mind me contacting you this way but recently I have been researching the ancestry of my father's side of the family and I noticed your name came up on a couple of websites. My father's great great grandfather (I think that's right) was James Moore from Ballywee N. Ireland. His son also called James (my father's great grandfather) moved to Glenwherry, Ballymena with his family in the late 1890’s and this is where my mum and dad still live and I grew up! My dad is keen to trace the family of his great grandfather’s brother who was called John and moved to America in his late teens. It would be great to hear from you as I have a feeling we may be related in some way.

Regards,

Nicola

me said...

Hi Melodie,

I hope you don't mind me contacting you this way but recently I have been researching the ancestry of my father's side of the family and I noticed your name came up on a couple of websites. My father's great great grandfather (I think that's right) was James Moore from Ballywee N. Ireland. His son also called James (my father's great grandfather) moved to Glenwherry, Ballymena with his family in the late 1890’s and this is where my mum and dad still live and I grew up! My dad is keen to trace the family of his great grandfather’s brother who was called John and moved to America in his late teens. It would be great to hear from you as I have a feeling we may be related in some way.

Regards,

Nicola

Melodie Neal said...

Hi Nicola

Delighted to hear from you! I would say that it is likely that we are related, although rather distantly. If you check the 1911 census records, you will find a James Moore, aged 70 resident at house 23 in "Glenwhirry", with his wife Sarah and a brood of children ranging from 27 to 9 years old. This James had a sister, Mary, who was my great great grandmother. He also had sons James and John. John was born about 1898, and I know nothing about him. Also, there are John and James Moores liberally scattered through this whole connection, so there is room for confusion. Do you have any more detail, and can you contact me offline? You can reach me at melodie. neal_at_gmail.com (substitute @ for _at_).

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