52 weeks for February

Well here are the prompts for February and my mind is running in circles thinking about what I will write:

Week 6 (February 4-10): Surprise
Week 7 (February 11-17): Love
Week 8 (February 18-24): Family Photo
Week 9 (February 25-March 3): At the Courthouse

Now all I need to do is settle down and get myself focused, no problem there …. or maybe just a bit!

 

Unusual Name

In order to find an unusual name to meet this week’s challenge, I have had to go back to the 17th Century. All my ancestors seem to have very solid Anglo-Celtic names, with many first names handed down from generation to generation according to common family naming patterns. So who did I find to meet this challenge? My 6 x great grandmother, born in Bremhill, Wiltshire in 1658 and named Frizwith Crumpe. Her mother was also named Frizwith.

Record of Baptism. Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Parish Registers; Reference Number: 1154/2

Frizwith is one of the variations on the name Frideswide. It is a form of the Old English name Friðuswīþ (Frithuswith), composed of the elements frið“peace, tranquillity, security, refuge,” and swið “strong, mighty, powerful.”

Having not heard this name before it needed a little research to find that they were named after Saint Frithuswith. The name became known thanks to St Frideswide (also known as Frithuswith, Frideswith, Frevisse and Fris) who was reputed to have been the daughter of a king of Mercia in the 8th century. Fleeing from an overzealous suitor, Frideswide founded a convent in Oxford. The church later became a cathedral — which we now know as Christ Church Cathedral, She is the patron saint of Oxford.

There are a number of stories about her life and she was well regarded and revered until the time of the Reformation. With Protestants discouraging the veneration of saints, St Frideswide disappeared from popular knowledge.

Maybe I should be thankful that this was one name that was not handed down through the family regardless of how saintly she was!

 

Challenge

Week 2 and the word is “challenge”.

Researching any ancestor is challenging, and in nearly every one of their stories, there is that message of overcoming life’s challenges to succeed. I have to admit my own personal challenge when it comes to family history is much simpler, a cupboard full of photos and ephemera that need to be sorted, recorded and appropriately stored.

Instead of just thinking of them as just another job that needs to be done I need to remember how lucky I am to have these pictures and other pieces of family history that have been handed down over the years. The oldest pieces I have are a pair of Lithgow Pottery serving plates from the mid-1800s that belonged to my great grandmother. Now I think about it I can’t believe that not only have I not made a record of their history but I haven’t even photographed them!

My father and mother had many old family photos some that are deteriorating because of the glue and other storage methods that were used.  I don’t even want to mention my own family photos that have just been bundled into shoe boxes without any thought. They all represent over a century of family memories, and they need to be treated with respect.

At least I can say I have started by looking up sites on how to store photos. The ones I found most useful are:
https://www.archives.gov/preservation/family-archives/storing
http://www.naa.gov.au/information-management/managing-information-and-records/preserving/photographs.aspx

Time to face up to the challenge and get all the photos and memories safely stored and into a format that is easy to share and celebrate!

What’s in a name!

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.

A life in Sheffield

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.