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Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Ancestral Homes of Kingston Upon Hull

These recent images capture the essence of a thriving City centre in Victorian Britain. Each one represents the life and livelihood of our past ancestors and the City’s history from William Gill the shoe maker who operated at 34 Bishop Lane to the now infamous Brown family of High Street. Slave abolitionist William Wilberforce walked these cobbled streets to and from his home and in 1642 the stench of treason would have choked any blue blooded royalist in the City.The Ancestral Homes of Kingston Upon Hull


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 
 

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US Airbase RAF Goxhill, Lincolnshire 1942-1945 USAAF Station 345.

Clark Gable in Britain 1943

Or Goat-Hill as the American Airmen unofficially named it.

Goxhill was not the most luxurious of Airbases, nor the most suitable as a command base, so much so, despite being used by the Royal Flying Corp in the First World War, at the onset of World War II, it’s sole purpose was to be the site of a Barrage Balloon with the sole intention of providing a defence mechanism for the nearby ‘East Coast Town’ of Kingston upon Hull.
In 1940 Goxhill was transferred to RAF Bomber Command and was planned and rebuilt as a Class-A bomber airfield. The base was equipped with three intersecting runways, the main runway at 1600 yards and two secondary runways of 1100 yards. Three hangars were built – two T-2’s, one J-Type and four blisters and fifty aircraft hardstands. Temporary accommodation was provided for 1700+ personnel.
Its location, however, was too close to the air defences of Kingston upon Hull to be used for that purpose. Its first occupant was No. 1 Group that took up residence on 26 June 1941. The mission of No. 1 Group was towing practice targets with Lysander bombers, its first operation beginning on 25 October.

1941 Goat - Hill 2011 Goxhill

In December 1941, RAF Fighter Command replaced the Bomber Command training unit with No. 12 Group, flying Spitfires from No. 616 Squadron at RAF Kirton in Lindsey. Fighter Command operated the base until May 1942.
The base was relegated to satellite field use by near by RAF Kirmington until August 1942, when it was taken over by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF). The transfer ceremony was attended by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and thereafter it known as USAAF Station 345.
The facilities at Goxhill, however, had a lot to be desired. Three wooden barracks were supplemented by a number of metal fabricated buildings (aka: tin cans) for living quarters. Typical of the RAF bases of that period, living quarters and mess facilities were 1–2 miles from the hangars and flight operations area.
The USAAF used Goxhill as a training base though the balance of the war, with several squadrons using it after their initial deployment to the UK, then moving on to a permanent facility for their operational missions.
Both the USAAF 8th and 9th Air Force utilized Goxhill. Units which trained there.
Amongst those trained at Goxhill during the period it is said was actor, Clark Gable. Though exact evidence of this is unconfirmed , we can place ‘William Clark Gable’ in Britain in 1943, as pictured.

P38 Lightening

Although Goxhill was used as a training base there was still the tragedy of the loss of young men’s lives – 23 young men lost their lives in air related accidents.
In 1944, the propeller blade from a P38 which suffered mechanical failure taking the life of it’s pilot Lieutenant Lane A. Ferrara actually forms part of the memorial statue shown in the picture which pays tribute to all those who served at RAF Goxhill.
Curiosity encouraged me to find out a little about those who served and died at Goat – Hill.
Second Lieutenant Lane A. Ferrara died on 26th May 1944 , the reasons are stated :
‘Caught Fire in the Air, Crashed 1 Mile North of the Airfield’
He was flying a P38 Lightening. Curiously, involved in an accident the same day, in the same aircraft type was Pilot Willard G Erfkamp and as I trawl through the list of Airforce accidents and deaths in 1945, I see many accidents that occurred over Lincolnshire and notably many at Goxhill, in total 44 flying accidents in the area of this airfield.
Of those accidents, Pilot Reginald Pitzer also flying a P38 Lightening had a landing accident in July 1944, that time he was lucky to return to base but in November of the same year, he was reported missing in action. A burial followed sometime later with the official records stating the disposition to be ‘nonrecoverable’. It would seem that only as recently as the early part of the 2000’s Reginald Pitzer’s P38 was recovered close to Strasbourg and his remains identified.

Memorial to US Airmen in Goxhill

In 1945 the last of the Americans left the airbase and it reverted to control of RAF Kirton Lindsay when it was used for various supply purposes before being sold off in parcels over the years by the MOD – it is now in private hands.
I understand that the friendly nature and generous hospitality of the Americans won over the locals and they were very popular and welcome visitors to the area.
If you have a relative or ancestor who served at Goxhill, I am able to arrange a visit to the site and also an introduction to a local landowner upon who’s property part of the old runway lies.
Look out for images of the airbase on Flckr


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 

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The Railway Children of Goole.

The Caukill and Taylor family that grew up in Parliament Street and Fourth Avenue, Goole, East Yorkshire were as close as any family living in the terraced streets of a northern town in Victorian Britain but more than that, both had been driven to the town by the decline in the farming industry in the late 19th century. Their life’s had changed considerably.
William Pearson Caukill and family lived across the street from fellow railway worker George Henry Taylor’s family in 1901. George’s brother Frederick had married William’s daughter . George and Frederick also worked on the town’s railways, along with brother in law’s Frank, George and Tom Caukill. In fact the only adult Caukill of this family not to work on the Railway in some capacity or other was mother and daughter, both named Mary.
Each of the male Caukill’s , as with their other relatives were well known in the small town of Goole and in turn, each would appear in the local newspaper, the Goole Times between 1890 and 1953, as a result of working with the Railway.
The first to hit the headlines was Francis Flint Caukill, born in 1869 , who’s life was tragically taken in an accident at work in 1890. The twenty one year old Pilot Guard’s story would appear in the newspaper on the days following his death. An inquest reported their findings of the accident leading to his departure ahead of time. Before death, Francis had been last seen 10 minutes before and he later was discovered face down on the Railway lines having been run over by a passing train. The newspaper report .concludes with details of Frank’s funeral.
Twenty three years passed for the Caukill’s and then in 1903, Frank’s father William Pearson Caukill suffered a similar fate. At the age of 59, with his last train in sight, William , a Plate Layer was hit by a Pilot Train, only a matter of metres away from the location in which his son was also killed. The inquest followed almost as swiftly as the newspaper hit the streets. This time the inquest focused on the carelessness of the Platelayers, and seemed to lay the blame on them in general. Unlike his son, however, William hung on for a good 20 minutes after admission to hospital, in what a best, must have been an uncomfortable journey. The inquest delivered a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’. Perhaps the case today would have taken a different direction.
In 1935, it was the turn of Thomas Caukill. Thomas was born to William and Mary in 1870. Tom, also a Plate Layer on the Railway, hit the newspapers for completely different reasons. On the occasion of his 65th birthday, Tom, reluctant to retire, presents his case. Citing miles walked at work over the last 46 years of work as in excess of 130,000. Following a medical examination, it was claimed that Tom’s eye sight was no longer up to scratch , yet despite this Tom had successfully won some Local Rifle Shooting competitions and this against men half of his age. Not only this but Tom enjoyed nothing more than cycling 10 miles on his 30 year old bicycle. The final line of the news report summed up his attitude to work and to life ’ he is now to be a gentleman of leisure, and the prospect is not a pleasing one to him’
The final Caukill to be covered by the local Newspaper was George, born in 1863, George died aged 89 in 1953. His obituary was headlined ‘ Death at 89 of Mr G H Caukill – Old Railway Servant’ which could not be more apt for this family’s story of life on the Railways.
Images have been created and manipulated from old photocopies and microfiche records. Full versions can be seen here.
Newspaper articles are one of the best ways to find out about your family history.
http://www.ancestrycentral.co.uk


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 

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Sun Stroke at Boot Hill !

Warning 'Signage Causing Damage'

The Toll of Time….and Council’s

Still on the theme of local cemeteries. Following a visit to Eastern Cemetery in Kingston, I was astonished to witness in such a well kept cemetery that an eagerness to protect the visitors, the stones themselves were being damaged.
It looks to me as though the sinking of some older graves, very likely due to some flooding and certainly some excessive rain, perhaps caused them to be a little unsafe.

However, the actions of those safety conscious officials has not been well thought out, as is evidenced in my pictures of the headstone marked ‘Fanny and Henry Bell’. Close inspection will show the stone to be on good condition, except for the fading caused by the lack of sunlight covered by the yellow safety triangle. This particular headstone may well survive a further 100 years but other’s in less good condition may not.
It’s strange that a Council, seemingly doing great work to preserve our Cemeteries could make such an elementary mistake.
See the series of images here


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 
 

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Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World.

Geography and History Confused?

When Sam Cooke wrote the lyrics to the award winning hit ‘What a Wonderful World’ in 1959, he was telling us that he ‘did not know much about Genealogy’. You might now be humming the tune to yourself , frantically searching for the word ‘genealogy’ and you would be correct in confirming, it is not there. None the less, the references to history and geography are and my point is that without some knowledge of both, it is sometimes difficult to understand Genealogy and wok through the plot that is your family history. in fact, both things help us understand much more.

In USA, if your ancestors are heading to Eldorado, California in the late 1840’s, you might well have struck gold. If they settled in Hahndorf, South Australia in 1838 there is a strong chance you have Lutheran Origins. Both, like many other historical migrations can be attributed to a time in history or a significant historical event. Historical knowledge of the region of your family ancestors may open a door to your past.

In the UK, most historical migration can be attributed to economical reasons, pretty much as today though with the added factor of the Industrial revolution. The Industrial revolution resulted in the decline of manual industries as we know them and large numbers of farmers and country dwellers headed to the commercial centres of the countries large cities and ports, where steam ships and trains imported products and materials for manufacturing. The birth of the manufacturing sector in the UK in the late 1800’s saw City’s, previously not much more than walled towns, develop into large sprawling masses, swallowing up every bit of green for miles and miles. London was a prime example; the areas close to Buckingham Palace had been farm land and fields until 1820. This was common across the whole of what is the London today, a conurbation of nothing more than small insignificant villages. Historically, this progress led to great wealth but also to occurrences of historical disaster, poverty and starvation. City’s of so many people became lonely and dark , matched only by the Victorian’s creation of such ill-advised institutions as the Work Houses, which under Poor law were a feature of every large town and city across England.

Changing World

Before those days of economic migration, daily distance travelled was not more than a few miles for most people living a country life. You can almost plot the routine when it came to wife selection as very often the bride would be from a nearby village. It means of course, that family history is often intertwined with a series of surnames that recur every so many years. Where the village was placed geographically would also determine access to more further afield parts of the country. For example being placed on the Great North Road, would ensure that a horse drawn vehicle could be in London within 2 or 3 days and by 1825, the same locations would give rise to railway stations, opening up a whole new world of travel and leisure. Trips to the City or the seaside would also present opportunities in which one may meet a prospective spouse or employer, and in some cases both.

Thinking about the importance of geographical and historical knowledge, I heard a story about someone’s ancestor travelling over 2500km in the USA, in search of a future for their family. Well that is just about the distance from London to Moscow and by using horse power, it sure would take some time and determination and it’s certainly a distance that only the most pioneering of Victorian Britain’s could comprehend and they, themselves embarked on life changing journeys to the USA, Canada and other places overseas.

A little knowledge travels a long way.

Sam Cooke was born Samuel Cook on January 22, 1931, in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was one of five boys (Willie, Sam, Charles Jr., L.C., and David) and three girls (Hattie, Mary, Agnes) born to Rev. Charles and Annie Mae Cook.


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 

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From Death is Life

Cemeteries of Kingston upon Hull

This week, I will be spending some time researching the Cemeteries of Kingston upon Hull, in East Yorkshire. Between 1880 and 1910, the Cemeteries grew at a rate only equalled by the continued growth of the City. From a tiny medieval town surrounded by green fields, Henry VIII’s favourite stop over expanded to more than 10 times its original size.
Recent records exist of Burials dating back to 1847 and Parish records detail burials before that.

Cemetery records
Before the 1850s the vast majority of burials were recorded in the registers of Anglican parish churches, although some non-conformist chapels had their own burial grounds. An act of Parliament in 1853 enabled local authorities or private companies to purchase and use land for the purpose of burial.

Cousin Mabel

There are five main cemeteries within Hull’s boundaries. Hull General Cemetery was privately run by the Hull General Cemetery Company until 1972, when it closed for burials and the council took over its maintenance. The remaining four were created as municipal cemeteries and are still run by the council. Western (old), Spring Bank West 1861 – present
• Western (new), Chanterlands Ave 1889 – present
• Hedon Road (old) 1875 – present
• Hedon Road (new) 1897 – present
• Northern Cemetery, Chanterlands Ave 1915 – present
• Eastern Cemetery, Preston Road 1931 – present
• General Cemetery, Spring Bank West 1847 – 1972

This week, I shall visit each cemetery looking for burials connected to various family names but not only that I shall be looking for anything that can tell me a little more about the history of Hull; it’s wealth, it’s communities and it’s disasters.
I shall also be seeking out information of the German Church on Nile Street,Hull 1848-1872 as well as The Jewish cemetery on Delhi Street, Hedon Road, opened in June 1858.

Dairy of a Family History Researcher.


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 
 

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He missed his crossing on the Titanic !

1916 Home Coming

In 1916, the Reverend John Stuart Holden arrived home having crossed the Atlantic from New York, arriving safely in Plymouth, England. Earlier that year, the Liverpool born Clergyman had made the reverse journey from the UK to the East Coast. In fact on many occasion, historical records show him to travel to Boston or New York. Aboard, the Britannic on 25 July 1931, the Adriatic on 6 Jan 1929 and the Oceanic on 23 Jul 1908. All in all he travelled back and forth between the Amercia’s on many occasions. One such crossing would stay in his memory much more until his death in 1934.

The Times, April 1912

Reverend Holden, had been the vicar of St Paul’s Church, Portman Square, London and he would make regular trips to New York to deliver sermons or to Preach along with others at conferences in New York City. On one such journey, hewas preparing for his departure to America to speak at the Christian Conservation Congress (a six-day convention opening at Carnegie Hall April 20 of that year) when his plans were interrupted by his wife’s sudden illness. On April 9, one day before sailing, the Rev. Holden postponed his trip to stay at his wife’s side.
Later, the Reverend Holden would frame his ticket along with writing of his own hand ‘ Who Redeemeth thy life from Destruction’. Reverend Holden had the ticket mounted and kept it above his desk until his death
On April 11th 2011, in Liverpool’s ‘Merseyside Maritime Museum’ the Ticket will once again be at the centre of attention as it again goes on display as being the only surviving first class ticket of the of the now infamous Southampton to New York crossing departing England on 10th April 1912. The ship of course was the RMS Titanic .

Did your family cross the Atlantic ?, would you like to know more about their past ?


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in United Kingdom, USA

 

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