5th Unlock the Past Cruise – Confectionery Stores, Genealogying and Getting Fit

5th Unlock the Past Cruise – Confectionery Stores, Genealogying and Getting Fit

What do confectionery stores and getting fit have to do with Unlock the Past’s 5th Cruise? You might just be surprised!

The beauty of not going on an organised tour, and simply hopping off the ship and wandering around the town is that you get to see all the shops and the types of things they sell. Souvenir shops, newsagents, jewellery stores, tourist information places, bakeries, clothing stores, confectionery stores, even supermarkets … you name I visited them all over the course of this cruise … and my suitcase does still close – surprisingly! Which of course also meant lots of walking, so I’ve getting fit touristing. ;P

So now let me tell you about the last three days of the cruise, which took us to the Isles of Scilly, then Guernsey and lastly to Honfleur in France.

DAY 8 – ST MARY’S, ISLE OF SCILLY
The day started out so foggy (or ‘misty’ as they call it), and we couldn’t even see beyond our ship, not even to the water below. So when we tendered to shore in an open-top boat rather than the usual covered in lifeboats, it was an interesting sight to see our ship disappearing into fog behind us, while we headed into fog in the other direction. Somehow they knew where to go, and made it ashore to the right place, and we (by we I mean my mum and I) did our usual thing of wandering, shopping and photographing for a couple of hours.

For the most part it seemed a very quiet, sleepy town with lots of places to stay including B&Bs. The thing I remember about this town (other than the thick fog) was the amount of pirate gear they sold in the shops. I guess it is quite likely that this was an area for pirates, but I don’t know my history enough to say so for sure. During the course of the morning it got sunnier and the fog lifted, so by the time we left we were able to see our ship from shore.

tender boat leaving the Marco Polo at the Isles of Scilly

tender boat leaving the Marco Polo at the Isles of Scilly – the island prefers to use their own

the Marco Polo fades into the misty morning at the Isle of Scilly

the Marco Polo fades into the misty morning at the Isles of Scilly

the harbour at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

the harbour at St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

photographing at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Anthea (my mum) getting snap-happy at St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

see, even on a tiny island on the other side of the world, I can find family history stuff

got Isles of Scilly ancestors? They even have a family history group there

seeing the Marco Polo ship from the streets of St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

seeing the Marco Polo ship from the streets of St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

As far as the conference part of the day goes, I had intended to go to Paul Blake’s talk on The Tithes: It’s history, records and administration, but I didn’t get there, so the only talk I went to for the day was Jackie Depelle’s talk on Reading the original: hints and tips for deciphering old documents.

In this she talked about the need to read things in context to helps understand them. She went into palaeography a bit, and how we can learn to understand the ye olde handwriting, including what letters commonly get confused with others and what was written different way back then (eg. J and I, s and f and so on). She said dialect can be a problem too, and mentioned the case of a place of residence listed on the census at “Atnutsford” which you simply won’t find in any gazetteer or place name book. She says the enumerator asked where do you live, and the person replied “at Knutsford”, so the enumerator simply wrote down what he heard. So it does pay to think broadly and way outside of the square sometimes. She also went into the abbreviations that you can find on old documents – which will help deciphering all those odd squiggles and marks you might see on 17th, 18th, and 19th century records. Anyway lots of good stuff learned in this talk.

DAY 9 – ST PETER PORT, GUERNSEY
Arriving in Guernsey it was a very pleasant 22C, and it was yet another beautiful, sunny day. We’ve had fine, warm and sunny weather for the entire cruise so far, it’s been amazing. But you wont find me complaining about that – in fact it was so nice of the cruise company (Cruise & Maritime Voyages) to arrange such awesome weather especially for the Unlock the Past cruise!

Anyway Guernsey was lovely, very clean, and I gather ridiculously expensive. Why do I say that? Well I saw three Ferrari’s in the space of about 30 minutes. I saw the Swarovski store, the Pandora store, and in another I saw a pen on sale for £463 … bargain eh? Needless to say that because of my apparently cheap taste, I didn’t bother going into any of those. In fact this was the only place I visited where I didn’t buy something. Still it was a lovely place to visit, and as it was a Sunday, the church bells were ringing so that was nice.

the Marco Polo ship map docked at St Peter Port, Guernsey

from me the Marco Polo ship map docked at St Peter Port, Guernsey

the Marco Polo ship lifeboats ferried cruisers to and from the ship all day

the Marco Polo ship lifeboats ferried cruisers to and from the ship all day

street in St Peter Port, Guernsey

street in St Peter Port, Guernsey

Parish Church of St Peter Port, Guernsey

Parish Church of St Peter Port, Guernsey

seven storey houses at St Peter Port, Guernsey

seven storey houses at St Peter Port, Guernsey

convict symbol on an old something outside a hotel on Guernsey

convict symbol on an old something outside a hotel on Guernsey

see I didn't make it up!

see I didn’t make it up!

here's me coming back on the tender boat from Guernsey [thanks to Wardika, the ship photographer for this one]

then it was back on the tender boat back to the ship. Here’s me on the boat heading back to the ship
[thanks to Wardika, the ship photographer for this one]

There were two talks I went to this afternoon. The first was Marie Dougan speaking on Scottish wills and testaments, which I am really hoping I can make sense of my 3 pages of notes when I do eventually get into my Scottish research, and then it was the talk on future genealogy cruises by Alan (my dad), just giving those who came to the talk a little more of an overview of the next 8 cruises he has planned.

But just a few notes from Marie’s talk. She said that all wills are in one place (ScotlandsPeople), so you don’t have to go looking for elsewhere for them. She also said that value of Scottish pounds in different to the value of English pounds, so keep that in mind when you see figures mentioned in a Scottish will. But the really interesting thing she mentioned was that in Scotland a woman’s maiden name is her ”legal” name so that’s the name the will is likely to be in. however ScotlandsPeople website indexes women under both their maiden and married name, so it should be easier to help you find it. I made lots of notes about land and property records which of course relate to wills, but I won’t go into that here.

Marie Dougan speaking on Scottish Wills and Testaments

Marie Dougan speaking on Scottish Wills and Testaments

on the way to sunset after leaving Guernsey

nearly sunset after leaving Guernsey

DAY 10 – HONFLEUR, FRANCE
Honfleur was interesting, and had it’s own feel to the place. Actually all of them do. I can’t say that France was ever a place on my to visit list, but I can say I’ve now seen a tincey-tiny portion of it. After our ship docked, were were bus-ed into the town centre. The first thing I really noticed was the ferris wheel, and somehow my picture taken from the moving bus actually worked out 9the one below).

There were the tall, squeezy buildings/houses, but the streets didn’t seem quite as narrow as other places we’d seen on this trip. They had lots of cobbled/bricked streets, and the shop display half of their goods outside, so I imagine the setup and closing up for the day would take a while.

The title of this post mentions confectionery stores, well it was here in Honfleur (which is actually pronounced “On-fleur” for those who want to say it correctly) that I saw quite a number. There were confectionery stores, biscuit stores, bakeries (or should I say patissieres) – they love this kind of food apparently. The confectionery store I went into had huge mounds of nougat, each a different colour and flavour. Next to that were stacks of slabs of chocolate (bigger than A5 size) – once again each a different type. That shop smelled yummmmmy!!

ferris wheel at Honfleur, France

ferris wheel at Honfleur, France

shops in Honfleur

shops in Honfleur

old postcards

old postcards

nougat in one of the many confectionery stores at Honfleur

nougat in one of the many confectionery stores at Honfleur

they even have a merry-go-round in the town centre

they even have a merry-go-round in the town centre

Honfleur, France

Honfleur, France

So my venture on to French soil was over, and it was back to the ship. The afternoon had four more talks scheduled and I went to two of them. Jackie Depelle’s “Ideas for researching non-conformist ancestors”, and then Lisa Louise Cooke’s “How to reopen a genealogy cold case”.

As many of my ancestors were non-conformists (ie. didn’t follow the Church of England religion), I thought I should learn more about their records. Jackie started off by reminding us to check the county archives for research guides and lists of holdings, and that by 1851 a quarter of England’s population was non-conformist.

Generally the information given on a non-conformist baptism record is: Name, Parents, Place of birth, Date of birth, Day of baptism, Place of baptism, Minister and Sponsors. So lots of useful records for us genie-nuts.

And her suggestions for places to look for these records are as below. Each has slightly difference dates or area of coverage – so check them all if you can.
The Genealogist
Ancestry
Findmypast

Other suggestions are to use local history books, which usually mention the church/es and the denominations, and sometimes the people. Look for cemetery maps. DeceasedOnline has information from the burial books (not the headstones). Use the Access2Archvies (A2A) website and put “non-conformist” in the keywords search box and see what comes up. Check the GENUKI website – as htat has a vast amount of information, and use newspapers.

Jackie’s suggestion for using The British Newspaper Archive is as everything that is on there ends up on findmypast.co.uk, use the BNA search feature (it is free to search), but then if you have a subscription to FMP use that to check the record.

The last points she made are to check Google Maps, Google Books, and use Google Photos. You just never know what you’ll find.

There was one last wind-up talk in the evening, but I shall leave that for my next post. So I as always there was lots of learning, intermixed with cruising and sightseeing. All up great fun. I know a few people who said this was their first cruise, but they hope to do it again.

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4 Responses to “5th Unlock the Past Cruise – Confectionery Stores, Genealogying and Getting Fit”

  1. Alex Daw says:

    I am so impressed that you did lots of walking and thereby managed to counteract the effect of the confectionary store…that nougat looks divine.

  2. Thanks for your cruise reports, I think I need to do a British Isles cruise now.

    Just how much confectionery did you sample?

  3. Corinne Fordschmid says:

    Hi Ilona, I’m really enjoying reading your blogs. Travelling alone I didn’t end up with many photos of me on the trip so I was thrilled to find one here! That’s the back of my head watching Marie Dougan!!! Have also just learnt that the lovely Anthea was your Mum! Would love to be doing it all over again. Wonderful trip. All the best from the Alps.

    • Alona says:

      Corinne, thanks reading and for your comments. And I have some lovely photos which you’re in so will email them to you soon ;-).

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