It looks as if this challenge is what I needed to start the ball rolling this year. The weekly prompts created by Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is proving a useful trigger to getting me writing rather than just researching. As you can see from the list below I have done a post for Week 1 and I am now pondering options for Week 2, better come up with something by tonight or I will be running late…. and I have only just started!
The January Prompts
Week 1 (January 1-7): First
Week 2 (January 8-14): Challenge
Week 3 (January 15-21): Unusual Name
Week 4 (January 22-28): I’d Like to Meet
Week 5 (January 29-February 4): At the Library
I have decided to take on the challenge of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks to encourage me to post regularly on my blog (https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/). The first prompt is the word “first” and I scratched my head more than a little to come up with something appropriate. One of the first ancestors I researched was my grandmother Hazel Annie Chisholm. By clicking on her name you can see her story. What is interesting that after putting in months of work to find out about her relationship with her husband William Shute a DNA match has now appeared that shows I am closely related to the Doherty family. I always believed that Jack or “Pop” Doherty as I will always remember him was my grandfather. Legal documents show that William Shute is recorded as my mother’s father and I found it very difficult to reconcile that with how I felt about my Pop. Now I am just waiting for some more test results from a descendant of William to resolve the question and I am incredibly grateful to his great-granddaughter for agreeing to do this. Now I just have to be patient while we wait for the results to come in …. all my fingers are crossed!
Lydia was the 2nd child of Alfred Biggs, my 2 x great uncle, and the only one of his three children to live to adulthood. She went on to marry and have seven children. Here is her story.
My great uncle, Alfred Biggs, was certainly a colourful character. A butcher by trade he immigrated to Australia with his brother, my great grandfather Stephen Biggs. to read more about him click here to link to his page.
Family naming patterns are both a curse and a blessing when searching for ancestors. It was interesting though to find that after a long history of the name of James being handed down through the Biggs family line neither my great grandfather, Stephen, nor his brother Alfred named their sons after their father who was the last James in this line of the family. Was there a falling out or was it just that the name of James was no longer considered fashionable? Stephen did name one of his sons Francis Alfred, no doubt a nod to his brother, while Alfred called his first and only son, Stephen, obviously holding his older brother in high esteem.
Still buried deep in Chisholm family history as I try to move from Sheffield to my 4 x great grandfather Hugh Chisholm. Then Audrey Barney (my Chisholm expert) and I were discussing the dark colouring in the family as evidenced in photos in her book and my Mum and older brother’s dark hair and easy to tan olive skin. We wondered if there may be a bit of Spanish blood trickled down the Chisholm line from the defeated sailors of the Spanish Armada who sought refuge in the bays and islands off the Scottish coast. Interesting to think about but as I can’t even manage to get the family history out of Sheffield I’m doubtful this is something that I will be able to prove!
I have spent the last few months buried deep in the coal mining and smelting industries of Yorkshire as I have tracked my mother’s family back through time. I have discovered that my great great grandfather, Daniel Chisholm, was a coal miner and furnace manager in the 19th Century, living in the industrial town of Sheffield. To read more about him click here.