Sunday, 16 November 2014

Family Tree News 16 November 2014

Just added another entry to my historical records of the Coventry during WW2. Wilfred Robert Askew - Sergeant Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Family Tree News 09 November 2014

Today is Remembrance Sunday. Please take a moment to reflect upon those who made such great sacrifices that we may live.

If you want to know more about Remembrance Sunday then have a look at the Royal British Legion website

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Family Tree News 28 October 2014

Courtesy of The Revd Dr Jonathan Holmes, the memoirs of Gwendoline Holmes are now available on for all to read. Gwendoline's recollections of the Blitz and afterwards make for gripping reading, so please take a look.

Many thanks to The Revd Dr Holmes for sharing such an interesting and moving story for all to read.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Family Tree News 22 July 2014

I'd like to thank John for his kind donation to the website this week after I checked records about the Coventry Blitz for him. Much appreciated John, thank you.

This week I added 4 new definitions to the Dictionary of Old Occupations - Linkman, Seamstress, Small Runner and Mantle Maker. I also updated the definition of Runner with additional info.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Family Tree News 15 June 2014

The most popular surnames such as Smith and Jones can be hard to research because there are som nay records to interrogate. I've been busy looking into the surname Jones recently. This week I added information about three Jones to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. Beatrice Ada Mansfield Jones, Clement Horace Jones and Edward Jones.

Hint - look under J :-)

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Family Tree News 31 May 2014

I have been updating the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre this week, and would like to thank the following two people in particular:

LyneMarie - Thanks for providing corrections and additional info for Lillian Bucknill's record

David - thanks for getting in touch asking about Christine, Herbert and Olive Whitehouse. I was happy to research the details for you, and have added them to the website.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Family Tree News 11 May 2014

I received an interesting message this week.

This was from Tom K, sent via my website contact form. Tom asked:
I have a question about Dictionary of Old Occupations by Jane Hewitt. Ive bought it and it is cool. But why does the book call old english occupations? I thought old english period is from V to XI century, but the book consists occupations mainly from the 19 th century. By the way why not to call them Professions?

Well, that's a good question and deserves an answer. I'll tackle the second part first - why did I choose to call them occupations rather than professions?

When I first started writing the Dictionary of Old Occupations the intention was to write a useful resource for people researching their family trees. When researching a family tree you typically find yourself searching old census records which provide an official record of people living together. UK census records use the term 'Occupation' rather than 'Profession' to describe what people did for a living. So when writing the Dictionary I chose to use the term 'occupation' to be consistent . You can find out more about census records on my website here. People may prefer to call them 'old professions' or similar, and that is perfectly fine. I sometimes use terms such as 'historic jobs' or 'archaic trades' too.

Census records also provide the answer to the first part of your question. Here in the UK the oldest census recordset we typically use dates all the way back to 1841. When someone encounters an ancestor with unfamiliar occupation listed on an official census record, the Dictionary of Old Occupations is intended to help explain what that occupation actually involved. Which is why the majority of the occupations listed cover the 19th and 20th centuries.

Having said that, lots of the included occupations and trades date back for many, many centuries prior to that, and as the Dictionary grew in size to include over 2,000 occupations it does include some much more archaic occupations. As for the oldest occupation listed, well, subject to debate, that could be, ahem, 'Unfortunate'. If you encounter a female ancestor whose occupation is listed as 'Unfortunate' on a census record then their 'trade' may have been that of a member of what is commonly called 'The Oldest Profession'. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'oldest profession' then a search engine will provide a quick explanation. Let's just say that particular occupation is thousands of years old!

Initially the scope of the book was to cover English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh occupations, but it gradually expanded to include United States specific occupations and other parts of the English speaking world too. There is a natural overlap in occupational titles and trade names between English speaking nations. Where I knew about regional- or national- specific occupations I tried to include those.

I'm glad you found the book cool Tom, and I hope I have fully answered your question. Thanks for getting in touch.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Family Tree News 29 March 2014

With thanks to John T for getting in touch with new information, I have updated the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre records for Ethel and Horace Twite.

Always appreciated when people help to improve on the available records.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Family Tree News 8 March 2014

Cracking on with genealogical research at the moment, but I found time for a small website update. Susan T got in touch with me about her great uncle Albert Harding Walton who was an air raid warden in Coventry during WW2 and sadly died during an air raid on the city. I have added his details to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.

Also in the news, Coventry Family History Society has just published the third version of their CD full of information for family tree researchers about burials at London Road Cemetery in Coventry. This one includes information from 1847 through to 1972, along with monument inscriptions and maps. You can buy a copy from the Society website.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Family Tree News 2 February 2014

Updated my Dictionary of Old Occupations website with these old census jobs: Whip Thong Maker, Tailors Baster and Felling Hand.

With thanks to Lois and Diana for getting in touch about these old census occupations.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Family Tree News 3 January 2014

Happy New Year!

2014 has arrived with frightening speed – where does all the time go? Over the festive period I am pleased to have found time to update the page about Coventry Charterhouse, and would like to give my thanks to Jon from Coventry Charterhouse Association for getting in touch with some useful amendments to improve the article.

Much appreciated, Jon.

Now – back to my genealogy research!