Northumberland, History Society

Belford.
Belford.

Sometimes we stumble upon a piece of information relevant to our family history in the most unlikely place.

Surely, we have all experienced a name or place jumping out at us while searching for something else? This session was devoted to the unusual or special sources that have turned up important details of people in our family history.

Our first item was very appropriate – a report of the first meeting of our group in 1998 at Fenwick Village Hall. Next year will be our 20th anniversary.

We also looked at a list of names of family members with dates of birth, marriage and death in a relative’s handwriting, which sparked thoughts about how long we will continue to handwrite.

A diary belonging to her great grandfather containing locally-significant details started one member off exploring her family history, eventually leading to the discovery of an estate map, dated 1788, at Woodhorn, showing the property occupied by her ancestor.

Coincidences abounded in our stories, from the house in Somerset visited for another purpose which turned out to be the home of an ancestor, to the poster of an eccentric Tyneside comedian grandfather, Harry Harvey. As his grandson was telling someone about this man, he realised a poster of him was displayed on the wall.

Other stories included the tale of the knock on the door of a house near Norham from an unknown American relative who shared great great grandparents with the occupier, a silver brooch which turned out to be a World War I medal, lists of names of shareholders in a ship, Christie’s auction catalogues, over 600 letters found in a trunk in Barmoor Castle, and many more. Each of these could have been the subject of a talk in itself.

Our next talk is on Tracing the History of your House by Gill Blanchard at Bell View Centre, Belford, on April 8, at 10am. All are welcome.