Welcome to the NWKFHS Blog

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Sevenoaks Railway Camps

Its amazing what areas family historians venture when ancestor hunting.
One of our members asked about the temporary camps set up to house the navvies working on the railway in the Sevenoaks area.

The answer to the query is given in 'Sevenoaks, an historical Dictionary' compiled by David Killingray and Elizabeth Purves and published in 2012 by Phillimore & Co Ltd for Sevenoaks Historical Society.
The railway lines were built:-

Line through Dunton Green to Tubbs Hill 1868.

Line through Otford to Bat and Ball 1862 and was extended to Tubs Hill in 1869.

 The ‘Sevenoaks, A historical dictionary’ says the railway camps were moving camps.

The Polhill tunnel is 1 mile 850 yards long was built through chalk under the north downs. The workers camp was at Bogs Island, Dunton Green.
The Sevenoaks tunnel 1 mile 1691 yards long runs under the Kippington estate  through the greensand ridge. More difficult to cut it was built in 1863. The workers were housed in huts at White Hart Wood. The line was fully opened in 1869.
The family for whom the query arose was living in the Vines area in c1865, is just north of Sevenoaks at the Junction of Dartford Road and Seal Hollow. See modern map, it has ‘The Vines’ cricket ground and just north of it Vines Lodge.

 Its lucky for us books of this type are written by the local history societies and their members.

Friday, 8 January 2016

24th February 2016 Open day in NWKFHS Library and Resource Centre

On Wednesday it was confirmed there will be an open day showing-off the facilities and services available at the NWKFHS Society Library and Resource Centre.
Let us know if you are coming by emailing to workshops@nwkfhs.org.uk or library@nwkfhs.org.uk
Free light refreshments will be available during the day.
Make sure you tell us you are coming if you want a guided explanation of the finding aids available.
Challenge our volunteers by thinking of a question that if answered will give you help with the background to your ancestors.
Looking forward to meeting you on the 24th February 2016 between 10.00 to 16.00

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Is Deptford in Kent or Surrey?

Today the question about Deptford and its parish registers was raised. For people who do not know the area it is difficult to understand changing civil and church boundaries and parishes like Deptford don't help with that understanding.
In the case of Deptford it was in part in Kent and the rest in Surrey.
West Kent Sources produced by North Kent FHS says 'Deptford ancient parish extended into Surrey. This part known as Hatcham became part of St Paul's in 1730 and a separate ecclesiastic parish in 1845.
The query arose for a record in 1770. In that case you need to look at all the parish registers as people moved across the boundaries.

St Nicholas parish registers from 1571 are at the LMA. Index only 1717-1769 at SOG.
St Paul's parish registers from 1730 are at the LMA.
The other parishes St John, Christ Church, St Luke, St Mark and Emmanuel are all 19th century churches and parishes.

Hope that helps anyone researching in that part of Kent. Local knowledge from family history societies is invaluable in situations such as this.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

NWKFHS Libray Catalogue

Today we had a Library Catalogue session and the resulting Catalogue is available in a searchable pdf format. It will soon be available on North West Kent Family History Web site www.nwkfhs.org.uk

A team of dedicated volunteers has been meeting monthly to create the catalogue database. A happy group that have found books to enhance their family research as they entered the book details. An advantage to them of volunteering to help.

We are busy cataloguing the Film and Fiche catalogue, the 'Old Documents' archive and the Photographic Collection. If you would like to join the cataloguing team email library@nwkfhs.org.uk and we will send you the next dates for the sessions.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Serendipity and Kevin Bacon (six degrees of separation) at work.

I am doing an assignment on Hall Place, Bexley and this has brought the Countess of Limerick's pseudo-historic repairs post-1926 to mind.

Hall Place collection display in 2012 had a brick marked ‘IH’ claimed to be 17th century but brickmarks only date from the mid-19th century. The brick had been salvaged from a chimneystack.

In 2014, a friend and I looked at the buildings that form the Swanley Park works area previous New Barn Farm.

The Bungalow had been reduced from a two-storey structure; date unknown; but in its chimneystack, we found a brick with the ‘IH’ brickmark.

Noticing some stock brick repairs in the Jacobean East Elevation, I again investigating the ‘IH’ brick puzzle as to their source.

In the 'Brickmakers Index' there is only one Kent reference to a company of brickmakers called IVORY AND HASELDEN who were in partnership from approx. 1931 to 1934 when it was dissolved (See Adrian Pearce and Dave Long’s paper ‘Chalk Mining and associated industries of Frindsbury’ published by Kent Underground Research Group in 1987). They had moved to Hoo Brickfield at Vicarage Road, Hoo in 1931. The details in this article include a comment that they produce stock bricks (yellow London stocks) as well as occasionally red bricks. While the bricks seen have a yellow face the body core colour is pinkish red. I am now convinced this is the source for Countess Limerick’s bricks in the 1930’s.

So how is this a Kevin Bacon moment

1) Me doing a Building Conservation assignment for York University at the Weald and Downland Museum (December 2015)

2) Being told of an ‘IH’ brick at Hall Place in 2012.

3) Visiting Swanley Park and discovering an ‘IH’ brick 2014.

4) Reading Adrian Pearce and Dave Long’s article from 1987.

5) Ivory and Haselden’s brickfield was at Vicarage Road, Hoo.

6) A member of my family lived in Vicarage Road, Hoo in 2010 without me realising it was local to a brickfield that was Hoo brickfield, but had been the source of the ‘IH’ brick.

So there you have it ‘six degrees of separation’ and serendipity and kismet playing a part in research. So, have you had similar experiences?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Clandestine Marriages at Fleet Prison.

A thread on the ENG-Kent-NWKFHS Roots-web message board has turned out to be two fleet marriages (Clandestine marriages). It started with a found marriage in 1744 for the Non-Conformist listings (Fleet) and the groom’s occupation as a labourer in what looks like ‘Ye K Yards’ from Welling.  The same man was married in 1738, again at the Fleet, and described as a Husbandman.  The suspicion is that the later marriage may have been bigamous because a woman of the first wife’s name did not die until the mid-1745.

The enquirer asked for help with these occupations and confirmation that divorces were not available at that time.

Our first thoughts were it was unclear if the Fleet mentioned was a Fleet prison Clandestine Marriage or a parish in Hampshire, Kent or Lincolnshire. The suggestion was some marriages in the Fleet Prison occurred because they were underage, disapproved relationships or as possible in this case bigamous.

 Ancestry has a second series of clandestine marriages online and both sets need to be checked to see if these parallel records have the same details.

 Divorces were not available at this time, unless one had money and could afford an act of parliament or church courts to confirm it (see TNA leaflet on divorce law). For poor people it was cheaper to sell the wife.

 Occupation 'Husbandman' can be found in most occupation dictionaries, which applies to farming, but Labourer in 'Ye K Yards' could be anything from Brick Yard, Ship Yard or Timber Yard so a look at the original image was essential.

The image confirmed it was a Fleet Prison marriage, not a parish called ‘Fleet’.  It is important to be clear on locations. The record actually said ‘Wickham’. The query is ‘East’ or ‘West’, but with a Welling, Kent connection and other records, it was East Wickham.

 The groom was Hercules Manning who married Anne Knight on 3 October 1744.

Searching for him in other marriage records turn up an earlier Fleet marriage on 7 Oct 1838 to Mary Layton. She, possibly, features in the St Michaels, East Wickham burials in May 1745, after he married Anne.  Alternatively, was this a child of that name? In both of these marriages, he is described as a widower although an earlier marriage for him in Kent has not been found.    

 There is a record of a marriage between Hercules Manning and Eleanor Mead in 1727 in Buckland St Mary, Somerset. Could this be the same person? There does not seem to be any record of the death of Eleanor and this raises the query did he clear off, coming to Kent to start again.  Was he a double bigamist?

 There is a burial record of a Hercules Manning at East Wickham in 1780, aged 79 but without finding a record of his baptism in Kent. Somerset record office said the register covering baptisms 1642-1706 for Buckland St Mary is missing.

The Fleet marriage image shows it is an 'R' rather than a 'K' so we have labourer in 'Ye R Yard that we suspect is ‘Ye Rick Yard’. Work associated with farming but not as ‘Husbandman’, which is more a farmer than a labourer.

A sweep of the East Wickham area shows there are a few references to Hercules Mannings from the mid-1700s to the 19th century. The family lived and worked in an area that is contiguous to Welling, Bexley and Plumstead. These Hercules may be him or his descendants.

A check for any Settlement examinations might prove his birthplace.  These started in 1697; they are usually in the Archives, in this case a check on London Borough of Bexley, London metropolitan Archives and the KCC archives is needed. Gillian Rickards wrote 'Kent Settlement (Poor Law) Records: A Guide and Catalogue: Part 2: West Kent (Diocese of Rochester), published in 1994 (NWKFHS Library ref QGR0014), which may help the search.

The Burial of Hercules Manning in1780 age 79 at East Wickham may be him. His wives are from Greenwich and Woolwich, which confirmed the need to look in the East Wickham contiguous parishes for their burials and baptisms of their children. There is a Hercules Manning, son of Hercules Manning (no wife's name given) baptised 15 June 1748 at East Wickham and Elizabeth Manning baptised 18 October 1745 daughter of Hercules and Ann Manning. East Wickham registers start in 1730 so one needs to look at the contiguous parishes for earlier records.

A Will for Hercules has yet to be sought.

We hope this summary of the thread on this NWKFHS blog might generate ideas from others' as well as on message board. If you have any ideas please comment below.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Free to View-Over 2000 documents and photographs covering all parts of the UK on the NWKFHS Flickr pages

Over 2000 documents and photographs covering all parts of the UK are available on the NWKFHS Flickr pages Free to view.

They cover the period from the 1700’s to the early 1900’s. They are arranged in Counties that they are connected with. They are provided by Members and many have never been available in public before this.

Already people have found details of their ancestors and families, in some cases that they were not aware of. Others have found avenues of new research about their family history. It is worthwhile having a look to see if you can find any of your ancestors. It is a growing resource so it is worth checking back to see what has been added. They can be found at  NWKFHS Flickr 

The documents are provided by the NWKFHS and its Members as part of the Society’s Charitable remit. If you ancestors came from or they lived in South East London and the North West Kent area the Society can help you with your family history.

The Society has a well stocked Library containing reference books/transcriptions/Indexes, Parish Register and much more.  The Society also offers a low cost research service.  You can find more details about this and other services the Society provides at  NWKFHS Website