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Category Archives: Newspaper Archives

Ancestry Central launch Services for Family History and One Name Study Societies

As web site http://www.ancestrycentral.co.uk continues to develop, Ancestry Central have launched a number of opportunities for Family History and One Name Study Societies.
At Ancestry Central, we are committed to providing a platform for new collections of genealogical data and imagery for researchers worldwide and we invite Family History and One Name Study Societies to get involved by adding their listings to our directory pages and by contributing to collections on display.
Currently we aim to add more of our own collections, in particular of Headstones and Monuments as well as Church Images. Later we hope to include articles and images relating village history, wedding group photographs, old documents and maps. In fact , anything that is of genealogical interest and can be displayed in the current format of the web page.
A short presentation is available here .
For more information, please contact me


An experienced 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

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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There is a story in every document.

The more I am involved in family research, the more I love it. My personal research aside , the stories uncovered never cease to amaze me. I mean the fact is , what lay dormant in the archives , is someone’s fascination of the future. Here are three brief examples of just some story lines discovered in my research this week:
My recent assignments have taken me to the parish archives of a number villages in Northern Britain, where original church documents make wonderful reading. Perhaps not at the time , but today the phrase ‘ supposed to be begotten by the Reverend Cornelius Abbotsford of this parish’ when written against a child’s baptism in 1707, only invites the feeling of intrigue. It also creates a whole new avenue of research, based on nothing more that blind theory, what if’s and maybe’s. In truth , whilst this is interesting to research and in the main out of the ordinary, the paternal line can only be proved by the DNA of living descendents. None the less, researching the ‘accused’ might prove to be an interesting distraction and in any case, as my old mother would say, it is a wise man that knows his own father !
Later last week, I was also spending sometime exploring newspaper archives and in particular the case of George Parker. George Parker was one of many noticeable ‘accidental shootings’ in the 1900’s and just one of a worrying number during the Great War. George had been to a party with his friends George Lee and Alfred Leaning. Both Leaning and Parker had been in the forces at that time Leaning in the RAF and Parker , a sailor. George Lee had been employed as a card cutter. Following the party, the 3 gentlemen decided to swap clothes and stopping off at a coffee bar on the way home, it was Parker who jokingly offered his pistol to a girl. The pistol accidently went off and Parker was killed. When Leaning and Lee went to the Police station as witnesses, it was discovered that they had changed clothes. Lee was fined 20 shillings and Leaning 40 shillings.
It’s not just Newspaper archives that give you interesting information either as the death Certificate of Catherine Rainey , aged 40 of Grimsby, Lincolnshire shows. On Aug 8th 1915, her ‘cause of death’ is recorded as ‘accidently knocked down by a motor car driven by John William Michael’
What does your past reveal about you and your family ?
Want to know ?
Contact me now !


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 Hanging of the third John Billington!

John Billington 1830-1904

You may remember my blog post; ‘the The Hangmen and the Hanged man – what’s in a name’ . Well, this week , quite by chance, at a visit to the Goole Family History Society open day this week, I heard of John Billington, the actor , who had hailed from this tiny East Yorkshire City. Of course, this type of knowledge is always intriguing to me, with my 3rd Great Grandfather, of the same name and it also being my own middle name.

Coming from Newton Heath, part of Manchester, a place where the football team, Manchester United had been formed in 1878, the name John Billington combined with the profession ‘Block Cutter’ has always been difficult to develop for certain. There was even a Reverend John Billington, who was incumbent in the church in which one of my John’s daughter’s was baptised. The Reverend John’s name is actually commemorated in a prominent window at the church. The Victorian Champion Jockey of the same name has always been another curiosity.

1871 Brighton

Learning of John Billington, the actor, I wanted to find out more.

John Billington the actor was born in Goole, East Yorkshire 1830 and died in 1904 His wife was Adeline, also a thespian and was born in Portsmouth about 1831
Following his early life in Goole, John would find his way to Brighton, where he is listed in the Census of 1871 as being resident with his wife and 15 year old son, Joseph Billington Shaw.

Tooles 1883

A year later a Times Classified advertisement list John Billington appearing in the Upper Crust at London’s Folly Theatre. Sadly, no longer open, The Folly Theatre was close to London’s Charring Cross and appearing on the same bill that night was the acclaimed actor, John Lawrence Toole, also a regular visitor to Brighton and it would seem a friend of John Billington’s. The Upper Crust was a popular play with a popular cast, as an 1880 edition of the Times repeats an almost identical advert in the classified section of the paper, which seems to run in subsequent editions throughout the year.

By 1881, John and Adeline are living on Hampstead Road, Marylebone, an area of London then famed for great writers and frequented by aristocracy and the like. By 1883, the Toole- Billington combination seems to be taking off, when the Times reports John to be playing John Perrybingle in Toole’s production of the comedy ‘Boys and Girls’ at ‘Tooles’ .
Toole’s theatre had been so named by JL Toole, when he took over the Folly in Charing Cross in 1879. An 1882 programme show’s John Billington performing in Betsy Baker and managing Robert McCaire in the same Bill. The Toole – Billington partnership continued through the 1880’s with show after show being advertised in the London Times.

1872 Betsy Baker


In 1891 John and Adeline were living with relatives in Portsmouth, according to the Census of that year but by 1892, the 62 year old actor is back at his friends theatre and appearing in Daisy’s Escape.
In 1897, as reported in the Times, the 7th Annual Dinner in aid of the Actors Benevolent fund was attended by John Billington, where it was announced the fund had raised £1300. The Fund still runs today of course, with its patron now HRH , The Prince Of Wales. The Fund founded by Sir Henry Irving states of it’s history:
‘Irving invited Charles Wyndham, J. L. Toole and Squire Bancroft, together with other prominent members of the theatrical profession, to dine with him one evening in the Beefsteak Room, and it was on their collective initiative that a decision was made to found a charity to be known as the Actors’ Benevolent Fund’
Perhaps one of those prominent actors was John Billington?

1903 Farewell

In 1901 John and Adeline are living in Burghley Road, St Pancras, and now aged 72 he lists his occupation as ‘Actor’. Perhaps an Actor never truly retires?
Though retire he did and it was at the Haymarket theatre on Tuesday 6th October 1903 that John Billington gave his farewell performance in ‘Waterloo’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’, of Sherlock Holmes fame . The matinee performance featured such great actors of that era as Sir Henry Irving, who as we know, was another close friend of J L Toole, and founder of the Actor’s Benevolent Fund.

John Billington died on 5 Sept 1904, in Highgate Road, Middlesex and an extract from his Probate details his effects, valuing just short of £400 were left to his widow Adeline.

1904 Probate


Perhaps a fitting obituary to this public performer, that unlike, his more infamous namesakes, the only hanging of this John Billington is that of his likeness in the National Portrait Gallery in London.


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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All in a week’s work

Last week was another hectic one in the life of Ancestry Central with some time spent in London at the LMA researching British Citizens born abroad between 1836-1907 which will form part of my article for Family Tree Magazine’s November issue.
Aside from that I have been photographing more cemeteries, with the addition now of Monumental Stones from St Mary’s,Hemingbrough, Yorkshire , Air Street, Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire and Sculcoates North, also in Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire. These older cemeteries can be a challenge, as in some case, there is a deal of clearing to be done by removing and climbing through an amount of thorny undergrowth and not always with successful results. Great fun none the less. As yet, I am still not sure how I am going to display all of these but anyone wishing to contact me about them , please do so. In the meantime, a brief selection can be found here.

Additionally I have been researching 3 or 4 trees in the Lincolnshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire areas, exploring newspapers records, parish records and directories on behalf of my clients. Each one of them providing me with something interesting , which I have to say, is always the case. The work is so absorbing.
On a personal note , I have been researching Court Documents and Newspaper articles relating to one of my own ancestors. The tale of which I have since written up and submitted to a few select Family History Magazines for inclusion in their future issues. So fingers crossed.
All in a week’s work……..


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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Matrimonial Expedition kills two birds with one stone.

Drumshanbo early 1900's

‘Dairy of a Family Tree Researcher’

Celebrating Census Day in the UK with access to the Times archives, I decided to perform a search on my 2 x Great Grandfather; George Henry Taylor I, I did not expect to find anything. I’d always been told by my Grandmother that once Widowed, George had advertised for a ‘wife of means’ and I had been lead to believe that was in a newspaper in North Yorkshire. To date I had not been successful, seeking out the elusive advertisement. There was also a family rhyme about George, that had been handed down and survived over 100 years :

‘He courted a Swan and married a Crow, he lost his money at Drumshanbo’

George’s first wife and mother of all his children was Elizabeth Mary Crow, quite who the Swan was we are yet to ascertain and the reference to Drumshanbo, exploring many reasons, we had been unable to find any why George would travel across Ireland , first by boat and then overland – it would just be such and arduous journey and for what?, so we had put it down the ‘sense of humour’ of our family.

The Times had to be worth a try ? and so it was, at the top of the list of searches was this :

‘The Times, Wednesday, Nov 20, 1872; pg. 7; Issue 27539; col A Ireland.’

It could not be? Could it?

20 November 1872

The story (duplicated in the image)read that George Henry Taylor, a Gentleman from Lincolnshire had embarked up a ‘Matrimonial Expedition’ to Drumshanbo in Ireland. A venture that had ended in him being robbed of his possessions and also hit in the eye by a man with a stone.

Quite what the outcome of the case was, I am not sure but what I have now is sufficient information to track down the Court Documents to find out in more detail.
What I am certain of is that George lived to be 81 years old , and undeterred by this episode, married a further 3 times ! Perhaps finding each new wife , by taking a less complicated route.

Newspaper articles are a great find and tell you more about your ancestors than many other documents.


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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Search UK, USA and Irish Newspaper Articles from 1785

The Times 31st December 1785

I have recently subscribed to a number of services that give me access to Newspaper Archives dating back to 1785, information at my finger tips which could prove valuable to your Family Research.
Times Digital Archives
Full text and look of paper from 1785-1985 including advertisements. Searchable.
Guardian/Observer archive
The full, searchable text of The Manchester Guardian (1821-1959), The Guardian (1959 to date) and Britain’s oldest Sunday paper, The Observer (1791 to date). Nearly 220 years of history
Newsbank
Read an article you missed – full text of the main UK papers including tabloids, the Economist, and some Irish and US papers. From 1998 up to a few days ago.
Did you know – Funeral Notices placed in these newspaper reveal information about your family and their relatives.
If you have something for me to search, please contact me.


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