Same crime, different time

Leave a comment

Whilst researching family history information for a client. Came across an article about London Underground tube fare evasion in the Yorkshire Evening Post dated 1935.

The guilty individuals were summoned to appear before the London Mayor for paying less for their tickets.

Can you imagine getting a ticking off from Boris Johnson? Maybe they should give it a try!

Yorkshire Evening Post  23rd January 1935British Newspaper Library

Yorkshire Evening Post 23rd January 1935
British Newspaper Library


Christian name changes in genealogy


Christian name changes or variations have certainly kept me on my toes recently.

Discovered Mary became Minnie, Roderick to Murdoch, Annie to Hannah and Jessie to Janet.

Any other interesting name variations out there?

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) Centenary of his death


Went to a great talk recently at the National Portrait Gallery by author Charles Elford about composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to mark the centenary year of his death.  Even though Charles had written his own book about him, he read excerpts from another author Jeffrey Green.

I had heard of Samuel before but this talk really gave a more detailed insight into his achievements.

Samuel was born 15th August 1875  to Alice Hare Martin, an English woman, and Dr Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor, from Sierra Leone.  There is no evidence of them being married. He grew up with his mother and her family in Croydon.  Samuel did not know his father who had left before he was born.    

Receiving a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Music aged 17.  His most well-known composition was Hiawatha Wedding Feast.  Samuel married fellow student Jessie Walmisley on 30th December 1899, despite opposition from her family due to him being mixed race.  They had two children Gwen and Hiawatha.

Unfortunately, by selling the rights to publishers of his work it left him with no royalties.  It was exhausting listening to the many jobs he held down to make ends meet which included lecturer and conductor at numerous organisations.  African-American spirituals were a huge influence to his music and he formed friendships with poet and playwright Paul Laurence Dunbar and historian and Pan-Africanist WEB Du Bois. Travelling extensively and even meeting President Roosevelt at the White House in 1904.

There was a cost to being overworked and he fell ill at West Croydon station, eventually dying of pneumonia aged 37 years old on 1st September 1912.

At the question and answer session at the end of the talk I asked if there were any of Samuel’s descendants here and was surprised to see a couple of hands shoot up.  It was great speaking with them.

There was one mystery, we learnt that Samuel found out his father had died.  I wonder who told him and his feelings about that?

I left having learnt more about this great composer and my overriding feeling was that he had so much more to give but it was sadly cut short.

India Office Records at British Library

Leave a comment

I have researched many British India family trees.

The India Office records at the British Library is a fantastic resource if you have British ancestors who lived in India between 1600 to 1947/8.

Tip of the day – it should be noted that if you are searching the baptism records it does not indicate who the child’s parents are.  Therefore if you are searching for an ancestor with a very common surname it can be time-consuming.  Try and see if their names appear, which would then reduce your time.  Better still contact me and I can conduct the on-site research for you.

British Library family history sources include:

Biographical index

Returns of baptisms, marriages and burials

Wills, Administrations and Inventories

Pension Fund records

Military Service records

Civil Service records

Watch out for website transcription errors


Whilst researching a rather large family tree. I kept overlooking a transcribed entry on the ancestry website that should have matched but the surname was Hagelgans.  Unusual I thought and continued repeatedly searching for this missing family member.

Eventually I decided to look at the actual record to rule it out.  Found out it was the missing family member I was searching for – surname Hazelgrove!

Moral of the story? Always check the actual original image.  No website is full proof in regards to mistakes.