Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Finding a Nurse in the Absent Voters' List for Barnsley in World War One

I have just added a page to the Barnsley War Memorials Project website that is like a blog post in itself.  So for all my followers on this blog here's a link.
An extract from the 1918 Absent Voters' List (thanks to Barnsley Archives)
I am transcribing the streets that make up the parish of St John the Baptist in the Barebones area of Barnsley.  There are 140 men on the war memorial for this church and I have been researching them on and off for the past year.  Many of the OH's ancestors and relatives lived in the area although none of them appear to be named on the memorial.  There was a streak of non-conformity in the OH's family and I think I need to track down more of the chapel memorials to find the missing names.

In the snip above I was pleased to see a nurse listed.  This won't be a very common occurrence as despite a universal franchise for men over 21 being brought in towards the end of the war women still had to be over 30 and fulfil certain property qualifications to have the vote.  And of course they had to be serving abroad to appear in this list.  That narrows it down rather a lot!

Katherine Sarah Blackburn was a doctor's wife living in the big house on Sheffield Road, Barnsley which is now the Warren House Dental Practice.  She was born in 1879 in Hartlepool, Co Durham and had been married to Vernon Kent Blackburn, a physician and surgeon, for six years by the time of the 1911 census.  They had two children, John Kent Hartley Blackburn aged 5 and Olga Mary Blackburn aged 3 in 1911.  They married in the September quarter (Jul, Aug, Sep) of 1904 in Newport in Wales and Katherine's maiden name was Shotton, a great northern name and one that features in my own family tree!

I look forward to researching her in more depth ... having found that link to Durham I won't let this one go in a hurry! I also want to know what took her to Salonica as a nurse in WW1, that will be a great story I'm sure.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Not a Moment to Myself These Days!

*space bar on my laptop is sticking, so apologies for any run together words!*

Since August I have been so busy with work for the Barnsley War Memorials Project, and happily so well (relatively), that I haven't had a moment to myself to write a blog post.  
This blog began two years ago as a way of talking to the larger world about my problems and my ambitions.  Well, one of my ambitions is over - I have now finished at the Open University as their fees are ridiculous.  I achieved another degree, not that I really wanted or needed it, I would rather have just had the option to continue dipping in and out of the OU modules as it suited me for the rest of my life.  I am still disabled ... well that wasn't going to change whatever the government think, but apart from my knees (and that's a story in itself) and a tendency to frequent visits to the toilet when I'm tired and worn out, I'm mostly coping with that OK now.  I have a hobby that keeps me busy, at home, on the computer and with once a week trips to Barnsley Archives to meet a friend for a change of scenery and the occasional glass of Pinot Grigio.
I still have no income, unless you count £35 a month from the talks I give, although I see that more as expenses for the travel, books, photocopies and sheer time it takes me to put a talk together.  Apparently, according to Barnsley Museum's new guidelines I am a business though, so they currently can't display my leaflets, leaving me with few outlets to advertise my willingness to give talks!  Circular or what?
S70 4HX on Right Move
We still haven't sold the other house, the OH spends so much time at work, or at the other house or just busy with CAMRA stuff that I am beginning to feel unmarried ... we are just about to change estate agents for the second time.  In three years only one couple has been to visit the house and they were friends of the OH.  It's a nice house, 3 bedrooms, sitting room with Adam style fireplace and sliding doors to balcony, proper shower and a bath, modern oak doored kitchen (built in oven, ceramic hob) adjoining dining room with built in floor to ceiling bookshelves, deceptively spacious (the photo really doesn't do it justice), and it's got a garage which is an unusual thing so close to a town centre.  Only 15 minutes walk from Barnsley Railway Station, shops, pubs and takeaways nearby, nice compact low maintenance mature garden, with strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries and tayberries!  

Ok, advert over!

So how come I've got time to write a blog post today?  Well, firstly I'm still in bed.  After the busy week I've just had my knees have decided to quit!  I dislocated my left knee twice in three weeks recently and it took much longer to go back into place the second time.  As I result I've been walking with a stick for a while.  Of course limping puts extra stain on the other leg and after three talks, a book launch and the usual trip to the Archives this week they have now told me they want a rest.  Secondly, due to the three talks mentioned above now having occurred I am having a little breather before I get back to work creating web pages for the Barnsley War Memorials Project (mostly war memorial gravestones) and researching the soldiers on my own chosen war memorials, St Lukes, Worsborough Common and St John's Barebones.  

My St John's Community on Lives of the First World War
I have been creating communities on Lives of the First World War - I do find this quite soothing, the satisfaction of finding the soldiers and flagging them up as "Remembered" and attaching them to a Community so other people can see who belongs with who.  LFFW got off to a rocky start as far as I could see, unless you were already an experienced family or military historian the original interface was very daunting.  However a recent change, adding the Timeline view, has fixes a lot of the problems with making the site easy to understand, I think.  There are a lot more prompts to help casual visitors add stories and images and the chronological layout as you add more and more information encourages you and makes the soldier's story easy to follow. 

Part of James A Warden's Timeline
*I have just had to swap to Internet Explorer to edit this post as Firefox was doing all kinds of odd things - it might have been my fault - I tried to paste a picture directly into the post - silly me!*

As a beta tester, and for allowing IWM to use my Communities in their publicity and as a 12 month subscriber to Find My Past I have collected over two year's free managerial access to LFWW.  This allows me to create and manage Communities, search and view premium content and that's about it really.  Given that anyone can add an external link to another pay per view site or add documentary evidence of any other kind to prove the facts about the soldiers to only real benefit to paying (if you already have a subscription to Ancestry or the Genealogist say) is the ability to make Communities.  So pay £6 for a month, do it quick and then don't pay again unless you find you need to add a lot more people to your community I suggest.

If I can set up Communities for the other volunteers of the Barnsley War Memorials Project, or in the case of the new Worsbrough Dale book, based on existing publications, then non-subscribers will be able to find their relatives more easily based on which area the man came from ... that's my plan. 

So I have a Community for Cudworth and one for Worsborough Common and one for Monk Bretton for example.  I just keep linking the men in, the fallen and the survivors, whenever one comes to my attention.

I really need to send a couple of emails today as well, but I'm prevaricating about that - shouldn't do really.  And a book might turn up in the Amazon Locker in our local Co-op later today, and I need to buy a Chronicle - which reminds me that I'm weeks behind on taking the cuttings from the Chron.  And I'm booked for a talk in December which I haven't really thought about yet.  Oh drat ... too much stuff. 

Better go and do something useful.