Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Family Tree News April 2021

 What a year it has been since I last updated the news page on my website! Family Tree Research has kept me incredibly busy all through the various lockdowns we have had in the UK. I would like to thank my customers for making this happen. It has been a delight to keep working and get to know your family histories, which have been so fascinating to research.

Debi B got in touch with me from the USA regarding her fiance’s grandmother Florence Tunnicliffe Thompson, who was born in 1890, and sadly lost her life in April 1941 during WW2 air raids in Coventry. I have been able to add details for Florence to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre, including a lovely photograph of Florence. I would like to thank Debi for sharing this family history with us.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Family Tree News March 2019

I would like to thank Pete S for getting in touch this week, with a query about Frederick George Waterer, who Pete is researching. I was able to find a newspaper article from the Coventry Evening Telegraph in October 1940, which provided useful information.

I was also able to provide some supplementary information regarding Frederick, and have added all this to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre to help other researchers.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Family Tree News February 2019

Paula R got in touch recently asking if I could help provide any information regarding her granddad’s first wife Kate Dawson nee Stephenson, and youngest son Christopher Dawson who were tragically killed in the Coventry Blitz during World War 2.

I was able to research some information for Paula, and have updated the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre with the details.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Family Tree News January 2019

I would like to thank Alan B for getting in touch regarding the definition of Press Maker in my Dictionary Of Old Occupations. After a bit of detective work including checking the 1901 Census, I have expanded the definition to include the manufacture of mangles.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Family Tree News November 2018

I was able to add some new info to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre this week. With thanks to Janet S for providing new details about her grandmother, Catherine Williams, who sadly lost her life in the Coventry Blitz.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Family Tree News October 2018

Thank you to Jean H for sending me updated information regarding Jean Reeves and Lily Bessie Reeves nee Bennett which I have added to the information on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre

I would also like to thank Heather S for providing new info obtained from Coventry Council regarding the burial place of John George Downing, which I have added to my website too. Interestingly, the site was recorded incorrectly by the War Graves Commission, Coventry Roll of the Fallen, etc.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Family Tree News June 2018

Found a bit of time for another update to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. This time I was able to add details for the following surnames: Barritt, Baseley, Battersby, Baylis, Beadle, Behan and Bell.

You can find all the new information here:

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Family Tree News May 2018

On this beautiful Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of May 2018, James Hewitt and I took a bit of time out to research some new information to add to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.

We were able to add new information for the following blitz victim family surnames – Archer, Arthers, Ashby, Atkins, Barber, Barker and Barrell.

We also updated Arthur Print’s record with additional information.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Family Tree News April 2018

Keith R from South Africa got in touch recently, helpfully providing information about the old occupational title of Spelterman. The information was gratefully received, and I have been able to add a definition to my Dictionary Of Old Occupations. Should any reader come across a Spelterman in your family tree, hopefully this information will be helpful.

I updated the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. Added or updated historical records for the following families who lost someone in the Blitz: Williams, Roberts, Grady, Lewin, Lockett, Seltzer, Knighton, Angus, Clarke and Scott.

Thank you to those who got in touch with info about these sad losses.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Family Tree News March 2018

New data protection regs known as the GDPR come into force on May 25th 2018. In readiness for this, we reviewed our data handling processes in line with the new legal requirements to protect the personal data of our family tree customers.

If you are looking to commission a family tree research project, it is important you choose a genealogist who respects your privacy and your personal data.

To find out more about how we how we comply with the GDPR and respect your privacy, please have a look at the privacy policy/privacy notice on the Family Researcher website. The link is

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Family Tree News 24/02/2018

This is my first website update of 2018 due to the amount of work I have been doing researching family trees for so many wonderful customers, which has been keeping me very busy. However, I do have some great news on that front.

My son James is joining the Family Researcher team full time, which will increase the amount of concurrent projects we are able to fulfil. In addition to providing ongoing admin and clerical support for some time, James spent the last three years or more gaining practical experience of genealogy and learning family tree research skills. He is a welcome addition to the team.

Also, I would like to thank Julie B for the information she provided regarding three Blitz deaths during WW2. Julie kindly provided details for three members of the Pickering family who tragically lost their lives during the Coventry Blitz. These details have been added to the website.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Family Tree News July 2017

Just added details for Robert Wilton Wood to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre pages. With thanks to Ralph for getting in touch.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Family Tree News May 2016

A quick thank you to Terry for contacting me regarding the old occupation 'Brace and Bit Maker', which features in his family tree. I have added a definition to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Family Tree News January 2016

I would like to thank Caroline Heritage for getting in touch and donating a photo of Ernest Willn to be included in the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre, along with a poem in memoriam for Ernest's brave sacrifice during the second world war.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Family Tree News August 2015

With kind thanks to Mr D Roberts, author of an upcoming book about Blue Coat School, I have added some details about Violet Mason to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Family Tree News 14 March 2015

Just added another batch of info about victims of the Coventry Blitz to my website. This time I found records relating to:

Fanny Elizabeth Jones (nee Miles),
Lily Jones (nee Edginton),
William Henry Jones,
Frank Harry Judkins. Hope this helps someone with their family tree research.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Family Tree News 23 February 2015

I have been researching records about more members of the Jones family who died in the Coventry Blitz. Have just added details for William and Jane Jones (husband and wife), John Jones and John Earnest Jones.

The latter was a member of the auxiliary fire service, and is listed as Earnest John Jones on the memorial at St. Mary's Hall.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Family Tree News 25 January 2015

Two website updates just added:

- Details for Thomas George Over have been added to the list of victims of the Coventry Blitz. (With thanks to Gary M who kindly got in touch with details; Thomas was the husband of his great aunt).

- In response to a query from Anita W, I have added details of the old occupation Key Stamper to the site.

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!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Family Tree News 02 November 2013

Gosh, it’s been a while since I updated the website. Things have been really busy here, genealogy is as popular as ever and I have been working flat out researching numerous family trees for people. I’m pleased to add a new web page to my site though – written by Paul Jack and decorated with a few of my pictures the new page is an article about Coventry’s Charterhouse.

It is a really interesting building and one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city. Click the link to read more about the Coventry Charterhouse building and its interesting history.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Family Tree News 30 July 2013

Thanks to Shena K for sending me updated information about her Great Uncle James Barker who died in the Coventry Blitz. I have updated the Blitz website details for James, and also researched extra details about his wife Edith.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Family Tree News 11 July 2013

Added info about members of the Ring family (Daisy Millicent and John T) to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre

Could Paul E who emailed me at 20:50 on 7th July please get in touch again? I have been trying to respond to your query, but the hotmail address you left me does not seem to work. Thanks - Jane

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Family Tree News 16 June 2013

Just researched details on two more members of the Hughes family and one from the Humphrey family. Have updated my website with the relevant info. Must say, the WW2 Blitz Resource site is coming together now.

For local history buffs there is an interesting newspaper article about construction of the Coventry Council House, which began over 100 years ago.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Family Tree News 29 May 2013

With thanks to Helen D for getting in touch with details about her great, great grandfather's occupation as a Whitesmith working as a Whitesmith in a cotton mill, the definition of Whitesmith in the Dictionary of Old Occupations has been expanded.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Family Tree News 19 May 2013

Had to mention this... I love this newspaper story about the Blitz. Jock Forbes was the mason who made the famous Charred Cross at Coventry Cathedral after the bombing.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Family History Conference in Coventry TODAY

Today - at Coventry Chapel, Whitley from 10-5... Family History Conference in Coventry with Dr Nick Barratt from Who Do You Think You Are, Coventry Family History Society and others. Free admission. Be there if you can!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Family Tree News 24 March 2013

Researched two victims of the Coventry Blitz – Ann and David Hughes. Read about them at the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Family Tree News 09 March 2013

It was lovely to receive this week a copy of the marvellous printed book of the Lloyd Family History. Weighing in at an astounding 473 A4 pages of comprehensive research results, wonderful illustrations and family photographs, it really is a true family treasure and heirloom. It was an absolute joy to work on this project and it is fantastic to see the full thing in print after all these years.

Many thanks for sending me a copy, the book is wonderful. (And very rewarding to see my name in the acnowledgements and my family tree diagrams and research results included in this magnificent opus.)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Family Tree News 17 February 2013

I came across the interesting old census occupation of Sad Iron Grinder when Sheila E got in touch regarding a relative who died in 1881. Sad irons are the ancestors of the domestic electric iron we all love / loathe to use in this day and age. Thanks for getting in touch Sheila - I have added both Sad Iron Grinder and Solid Iron Grinder to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.

In the news this week was hero Lionel Clarke who has just been awarded a well deserved medal for his brave efforts during the war. Lionel was an auxiliary fireman serving during world war two, and was amongst those who fought to save Coventry Cathedral when it was bombed during the Blitz. It’s great to read stories such as this, about Coventry firefighters who braved such appalling conditions night after night to save lives and property.You can read the full story at the Coventry Telegraph website.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Family Tree News 03 February 2013

Added Owen Martin as a possible unidentified victim of the Coventry blitz buried in the mass grave at London Road. Thanks to information supplied by family member Anne, we know that Owen was working for a tyre factory in Coventry at the time of the blitz when he disappeared.

My thanks to Anne for getting in touch; I have added Owen to the website as requested.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Family Tree News 20 January 2013

Just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Terry F and to Lucy for your kind feedback this week. It is really rewarding to receive such praise from you. I have updated my family tree testimonials page with your kind comments.
- Jane

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Family Tree News 12 January 2013

Angela – thank you so much for your lovely letter. It was really kind of you to take the time out to write to me to let me know how happy you are with your family tree results. It has been a while since I last updated my family tree testimonials page so I thought I would type up your letter and add it to the page. Thank you so much for writing, and best of luck with finding descendants in Wiltshire!


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Family Tree News 01 January 2013

2013 is upon us already! I'd like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Back in November Mr J Ashfield contacted me regarding a family member who was tragically killed in the Coventry Blitz during WW2. Mr Ashfield kindly donated several photos for the website, along with details of the incident.

I am very grateful to Mr Ashfield for sending me all this info, and I have now included them in the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. Follow the link to read more about Harry Clarke.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Family Tree News 23 December 2012

Was able to update the Dictionary of Old Occupations this week. I would like to thank Richard for getting in touch regarding the occupation of Drowner, which has been added along to the site along with a lengthier definition for Water Meadow Drowner.

Also, David C provided some useful information about the occupation Oliver Smith, a definition of which has now been added to the site. Many thanks to both Richard and David for contacting me and sharing useful information with us genealogy enthusiasts.

Christmas is practically upon us as I write, and I would like to send my best wishes to all my customers. It has been a pleasure to work with you all during 2012 and I look forward to continued family tree research projects in the new year.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Family Tree News 08 December 2012

In the news this week an interactive map is available both online and as an app. The map shows the locations of German bombs dropped on London during The Blitz. From an educational perspective this is a valuable resource. It is startling to see how densely bombs fell upon individual streets and homes. It highlights what a miracle it is that the city survived.

You can access the site here. There is also a BBC news article on the subject available here.

If you are interested in the WW2 Blitz I have lots of information about it on my own family researcher website.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Family Tree News 01 December 2012

Attention family tree researchers! The December 2012 issue of the Coventry Family History Society Journal is out now – Volume 9, number 4. Some really interesting local and family history in there this quarter, such as a great article about City College Coventry, the Freemen's Guild and some memories of the local library service in the sixties. Oh, and how lovely to see one of my winter photos adorning the cover of this issue!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Family Tree News 18 November 2012

Was able to add research findings into the deaths of a further six people sadly killed in the WW2 Coventry Blitz. You can find their details on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. The names of the people added are:
  • Herbert George Harrison
  • Lydia Ann Harrison nee Checklin
  • Emily Harritt nee Meakin
  • Cyril Herbert Glenister Hartup
  • Daniel Harvey
  • George Leonard Harvey

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Family Tree News 10 November 2012

I have not had much opportunity to update the website over the last month or so because I am working hard on assorted family tree projects for Christmas. I did find time for a short update this week though. With thanks to Gerry H for getting in touch ref his grandfather's occupation, I have added a short definition for Blast Furnace Slagger to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.

I had an enquiry from Anna M regarding her great great grandfather's occupation of Rubber Spreader, dating back to the last quarter of the 19th century / first quarter 20th century and possibly linked to India. If you have any useful information related to this old occupation it would be great if you could get in touch, and I'll pass it back to Anna.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Family Tree News 14 October 2012

This week I found time to research a couple more victims of the Coventry Blitz – two members of the Bradnick family - and added their details to the Blitz Resource Centre.

Christmas is on the horizon once again. Doesn't it come around quickly! I have taken a lot of orders from people commissioning family tree research projects to complete for Christmas which will become Christmas gifts for loved ones. Sadly, this means I am now fully booked with regards to large projects with a Christmas deadline.

However, if you are interested in commissioning a family tree project as a Christmas present for someone in your family then why not consider purchasing one of my family tree gift certificates ? It means you can give the certificate to the lucky recipient on Christmas Day, and I can work on their family tree either with them or with yourself in the New Year. Contact me for further details.