The Castle, the Gatekeeper and the Inn Keeper!...

This story starts back in 1829 in Lancashire (England), but my introduction to it was actually less thanย year ago. When I was over in England in August 2014 with some of my family, one thing that my dad really wanted to do, was to visit Lancaster Castle in Lancashire, as his great great grandpa (William Todd Hayhurst) worked there as a warden. This was a story I’d vaguely heard before, but not followed up. Afterall there’s only so many families that you can trace at once. But on going to the castle, I thought I’d better do some digging. After all, a ancestor who worked at a castle is kinda cool, eh? My first surprise when researching this family was to find out that Lancaster Castle, which is most certainly is a castle, wasn’t actually used as one. Well, not for the past 900 years or so anyway. In fact it’s been used as a jail, housing many thousands of people who were debtors, petty criminals, murderers and witches. The tour of the castle was amazing, even if we weren’t allowed to go in ALL parts. It was incredible to think that this 1000 or so year old mega-structure is even still standing. And that people lived and died in this prison – including many hangings – which by the way, were a public attraction of the day, even in the late 1800s. Now back to 1829. William TODD, born to Margaret TODD was christened ย on 25 October 1829 at Cockerham, Lancashire. Note: no father mentioned. However less than a year after that, I find that Margaret Todd was living at Quernmore in Lancashire … as was Thomas Hayhurst, whose wife had died a little while before, leaving him...

2014: What Are You Thankful For?...

With only a few days until we reach the end of 2014 it seems timely to do a little review. For those who might be new readers here let me tell you that I’m not a resolution-maker. No-sir-ee. In fact I think for many people they do more harm than good by creating a burden. Think about it. If you make a list, revisit it later, and find that you’ve only done half (if that) of what you’d hoped to achieve, that would bum you out, right. And fair enough. While that approach may work for some people, but it’s just not my style. Instead I prefer the approach that Jill Ball took with a geneameme she made in 2012 titled “Accentuate the Positive”, which as you guessed it, focusses on highlighting what you had achieved throughout the year. And another favourite was Judy G. Russell’s Thanksgiving post on “Giving Thanks in 2014” as well. Judy not only writes really well in her posts, but she has a knack of putting things into perspective, which in today’s crazy world can be something we forget. So my aim for this post is the take a look back over the past year, and note what I am thankful for … – I am thankful for my wonderful family: Mr Lonetester who has been with me many years, and is still my best friend. My parents and brother who I work with each day, and we still mostly get along. And my fur-family of cats, who I miss every time Iย  go away. Life is just not the same without cats. – I am thankful for my job. I really do love my job, afterall I am surrounded by genealogy stuff all...

The Postie Arrived!

Are the days of impatiently waiting for the postman to deliver a letter that you’re eagerly awaiting over? Sadly I think they ‘almost’ are. Thanks largely to email, the days of receiving a letter in the post has almost completely died. Honestly I cannot remember when I last received something that wasn’t a bill, a letter from the bank offering me a new credit card, or details of what’s happening in my area from my local council. But for the past two weeks I have been eagerly checking my letterbox daily. So what has got me so excited? Certificates of course. What genienut doesn’t LOVE certificates? I recently splurged and ordered nine certificates from the General Register Office (GRO) in a bid to verify the children on my 3x great grandparents – well at least those from the first marriage. And after 20 days of waiting (the GRO offer the quickest service), they arrived today. This stash of certificates all relate to my HAYHURST family from Lancaster in Lancashire, which I’ve recently started researching. Hayhurst. it sounds like a cool name. Not too hard. Afterall it’s not like Smith or Brown is it. Wrong! At least when you get to Lancaster! Apparently the name in that region dates back hundreds of years, and of course every family has a William, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth and Margaret and a John. So rather than rely on the transcriptions which have been fabulously transcribed by the Lancashire OPCs, I decided to get copies of the originals to verify everthing. While this research is still a work in progress, what I have found so far indicates the following: William HAYHURST b. abt 1830 m1. 1848 Jane JACKSON d. 1869 1. Mary Ann HAYHURST b....