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 on: February 22, 2014, 11:09:06 AM 
Started by Mike.H - Last post by Geoff

     In your message you say "I guess that people got divorced then as now".

     That is not correct.  Those who could afford the considerable costs of divorcing and who could also live with the social stigma of doing so were legally free to do so, using the Civil Courts under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1858, but in practice divorce was a comparative rarity at the time in question, especially for "ordinary" working families living in inward-looking communities like the pit villages.  To be honest, I would consider divorce very unlikely in this case.

                                           Geoff Nicholson

 on: February 21, 2014, 04:12:38 PM 
Started by Mike.H - Last post by Mike.H
Good afternoon Geoff and Ken,
Thanks to Ken for helping Geoff. I have a "history" from another relative who wrote Michael's death was recorded at Shotten Colliery, but as Ken wrote, this may be the village. When I return from Italy, I will take up the research again closer to home, I have lived for 9 years in Italy, so the seaching had gone "cold" until a couple of weeks back. What I can say is my great g'father William was named Nattress Huggins because of the marriage of Michael N and Jane Huggins (nee Roddenby, a few variants on this). At the moment, I am trying to trace Michael's children and first wife. I have a theory that the person recorded as Joseph Huggins, in the sensus of 1881 at the Huggins household, is in fact Joseph Nattress, from Michael's previous marriage. At this point I have not found any death records for Sarah Nattress (nee Bell) and the two other children registered from that marriage, William and Mary. This might give an indication why Michael and Jane married, possibly anyway; I guess people got divorced then as now. Two things confuse this all the more, Jane's first husband had a brother called Joseph, so one idea was Joseph took up with Jane after Thomas's death (recorded in DMM); when my great g'father got married, the name Joseph Huggins was recorded as his father and not Michael Nattress, just a mistake or not?? dohhhh. My ggf William was born a few weeks before Michael and Jane were married, so we have to assume now, he was the father of William, but we can't be 100% on this. Thanks for the time and interest  shown in this, Family History is a fascinating subject, yes.

 on: February 21, 2014, 04:01:46 PM 
Started by Geoff - Last post by Geoff
South Tyneside Branch, February Meeting 2014

     A dozen members and guests came to hear Catherine Wright speak on “Northumbria Paper Mills”, a subject on which she is obviously very knowledgeable.  Her well-illustrated talk kept everyone absorbed, especially as she concentrated on those on the Tyne and its tributaries.  She therefore mentioned not only those in South Shields and Jarrow but those at Scotswood, Teams, Lintzford, Shotley Bridge and elsewhere.  She confessed that the Shotley Bridge Mill was the one which had sparked her interest because her husband, who was present, was a descendant of the Annandales who had owned it.

     Mrs Wright also told us a lot about the process of making paper and showed us some equipment with which it would be possible for anyone with the correct chemicals etc, to make their own paper.  She referred to the frequent fires, which were a major problem for any factory containing large amounts of raw materials (rags, wood pulp, esparto grass, etc), together with the furnaces needed to raise steam with which to drive the machinery.  Some of the surnames and individuals who were mentioned kept cropping up again and again and it became apparent that a small group of families came to control a lot of separate mills.

     It was also interesting, as always, to see how our local industries were inter-related with colliers returning to the Tyne for another cargo of coals bringing in, as ballast, bales of esparto grass, imported from abroad, which was highly suitable for paper-making.

     All in all, this was a talk which gave us all plenty of food for thought!

                                          Geoff Nicholson

 on: February 21, 2014, 11:24:58 AM 
Started by vglass - Last post by vglass
North Northumberland Branch of the NDFHS
Meeting held in Belford on Sat 15th Feb 2014

1.  22 people were present – some for their first occasion.
2.  The Chair paid tribute to and invited members to remember Donald McIlhagga (former Chair), who had died since the last meeting.  He had represented the Society at Donald’s funeral service in Norham Church and contact had been made with the family.

3.   Talk by Mike Fraser BA MSc MPhil
‘William Beveridge – the Man, the Report and the Berwick Division’

Few former civil servants and parliamentarians have had as much effect on most people’s lives in this country as William Beveridge.  Mike Fraser started researching his life three years ago and as a result of consulting archive material, re-reading his books and talking with family members and those who knew him, has come to a fresh appreciation of his character and achievement. 

Beveridge was born in Rangpur, India (1879) but educated in England.  Personal influences in early life led him to be interested in social reform and in better use of man power through creating labour exchanges.  His WWI contribution to the Civil Service in the shaping of man power policies so impressed, that he was knighted at the end of the conflict.  In 1919 he became Director of the London School of Economics and in 1937, was elected Master of University College, Oxford.  Once WW2 began, the Ministry of Health – looking forward to peace-time and trying to avoid the failures of the post-war depression of the means-tested 1920s and 30s – created a committee to explore issues of social insurance and related matters and invited Beveridge to chair it.  Beveridge felt that this would be a distraction from his other work, but his wife (he married Janet Mair in 1942) persuaded him to do it.  The Report on ‘Social Insurance and Allied Services’ was published and submitted to Parliament in 1942, and at 2/- a copy, sold widely!  The press (British, French and American) were enthusiastic, the mood of the country post–El Alamein was upbeat, but the National Government under Churchill still had other prior concerns.  It was the landslide Labour Government led by Atlee who implemented the proposals.  The essence of the proposals were
•   that all should be in a scheme of national insurance, providing cash benefits for security in return for a simple weekly contribution
•   to introduce a scheme for children’s allowances for earners and non-earners
•   to provide an all-in scheme of medical treatment of all kinds, for all citizens.
Beveridge reported on ‘Pathé News’ that no-one would fall below a certain standard; that people would be free to spend above that as they choose and that this would bring maximum personal freedom and responsibility.  Seventy years on, all can see how this has shaped our life as a nation.

Beveridge’s initial contacts with Northumberland were through his wife’s family who lived near Hexham.  He was persuaded to stand as a Liberal for Berwick upon Tweed in the 1944 General Election and campaigned on the basis of ‘Social Security for all, jobs for all and the defence of rural life’.  He was elected on a large majority and he and his wife made Tughall (near Beadnell) their main home.  The General Election in the following year brought a serious reverse for Beveridge, with a conservative nominee who won with 43.9% of the vote.  He was offered a peerage (becoming Baron Beveridge of Tughall) and became leader of the Liberal peers in the House of Lords.  His wife served in local politics on Belford Rural District Council and in 1947 he was made chairman of the Newton Aycliffe and Peterlee Development Corporations. 

Throughout the talk, our speaker commented how various people experienced Beveridge’s personality.  Some found him delightful, friendly and helpful whilst to others he seemed autocratic, distant and elitist.  His report certainly caught the public mood in 1942.  He remained a critic of the way in which it was implemented though would have been pleased to be regarded as father of it!  Dying in 1963, his last words were ‘I have a thousand things to do.’  He was buried in Northumberland beside his wife in Thockrington Churchyard.

Mr Fraser’s talk generated comments, questions and discussion.

4.  Next Meeting:  Sat 15 March at Bell View Belford. Derek Cutts ‘A predilection for steep banks: the Morpeth to Coldstream Turnpike Road, c1750-1850’.


 on: February 20, 2014, 08:47:38 PM 
Started by Mike.H - Last post by GenKen

This one has been on the DMM forum for a couple of days where I have had an exchange of messages with Mike, therefore if you want to check DMM some of the questions I know you will ask may have been answered.

It appears to me that the death of Michael NATTRESS (or variants) was due to natural causes in the village of Shotton Colliery and not to a mining industry accident in the colliery. I have checked the main index of fatalities and injuries and found no mention of Michael. I think it is a case for purchasing the death certificate to be certain.

The original family name was NATTRESS (or variants) but due to a marriage HUGGINS was added as a suffix. However, after two generations NATTRESS was removed and now the family name is simply HUGGINS. The death was registered as NATTRESS but I have checked the DMM index under both names.

 on: February 20, 2014, 04:36:42 PM 
Started by Mike.H - Last post by Geoff

     Can you please just clarify one point?  You say Michael is "down" (where?) as dying "in Shotton Colliery".  By that do you mean in the village of Shotton Colliery, where he lived or do you mean "in", ie underground in, Shotton Colliery itself.  If the latter then it would be a mining accident and easier to trace.  Of course, to find more information about that, or any, death, the "official" thing to do is to purchase a copy of the death certificate from the local registrar.  Details of the Quarter and Registration District (Easington) should be given on FreeBMD.

                Geoff Nicholson

 on: February 20, 2014, 12:23:39 PM 
Started by Mike.H - Last post by Mike.H
Good day to all, I would welcome any info or memories on  the names Huggins and Nattress Huggins. The double name was used for two generations, my grandfather William dispensing with the Nattress, with his children one of which was my father George. Specifically I am looking for info on Michael Nattress 1833?-1870, Michael is down as dying in Shotton Colliery, but I can't find anything in relation to this event. I think the parents of Michael were Henderson and Mary. It was the marriage of Michael N to Jane Huggins (nee Roddenby) which gave the double name. All of my recent acestors were miners in and around Easington/Sunderland, except my father who ran away from home and joined the army; this I guess would have been around the late 1920's/early 30's. Most of my father's family are now buried in the church (St Barnabas's) in Bournmoor. I think my grandfather and uncle worked at 6th. Pit (lumley), near to Fence Houses and Easinton, repectively as well as Seaham but a long way back for that pit, but it's a guess now.
Thanks in advance for any info or memories you can give of my family.

 on: February 17, 2014, 11:07:04 AM 
Started by vglass - Last post by vglass
Our next talk will be on Sat 15 March at `10 am when Derek Cutts will speak on
A predilection for steep banks: the Morpeth to Coldstream Turnpike Road, 1750 -1850

Come and learn about the state of the roads when our ancestors lived and what happened when turnpikes were introduced.

Everyone is welcome to this talk at Bell View Resource Centre, 33 West St, BELFORD.

Come early and have a coffee in the cafe at 9.45!

 on: February 15, 2014, 01:38:43 PM 
Started by Susanne - Last post by Susanne
Tynedale 13 Feb 2014 Meeting:
Members Forum: Just how honest were our forebears?

Most people had the ‘normal’ range of variations on the truth involving altering ages on the census or the dates and locations  of marriages especially where some of the children were born before the ceremony.  Some were even registered using a previous partners name because that gave a spurious legitimacy.  Quite a few attendees seem to have had very honest forebears - though this may have been because gossip and speculation about the past was not passed on.  Other ancestors presumably hoped their misdemeanors would not be found out.  Sources for finding the truth decades later included the shipping records which revealed someone’s movements and newspaper accounts of court cases.  One tale of embezzlement and bigamy involved a man called Isaac Wolfe Wolfe (son of Isaac Wolfe).  A later court appearance was for attempted suicide - but his claim to have been shooting at a fly on the ceiling was accepted by the judge who warned of the dangers of playing with guns.  In contrast was the expensive granite gravestone (where the rest were sandstone) erected by former employers for their bailiff who was “an honest and upright man”:   His only fib was to modestly call himself an agricultural labourer in the census.  Other fibs involved “elevating” the parents’ social status on marriage certificates so that the two sides were more equal.  Sometimes it is not deliberate: often they are the result of mistaken memories when told decades later eg if a family moved around so that sibling birthplaces varied or when old photos were being identified. 
     One untruth passed on in a family was about a church pointed out as the location of the grandparents’ marriage:  this was an impossibility since it was only built 13 years later.  This led to a query about locating Register Offices if people did not have a Church ceremony, especially since many Register Offices have moved or amalgamated.  The best suggestion was to check local Trade Directories such as Kelly’s for Register Office addresses.

 on: February 13, 2014, 10:45:11 AM 
Started by Geoff - Last post by Geoff
Northumberland and Durham Family History Society, South Tyneside Branch

February meeting

     The February Meeting of the above branch will take place, as usual, on the third Wednesday of the month, ie next Wednesday, February 19th, at St Hilda’s Church Visitor Centre, adjacent to the Market Place in South Shields.  The meeting will commence at 7.30 pm and the doors will be open at about 7 o’clock.  The doors in question are the large red ones leading out onto the small car-park behind the iron gates and between the church and the War Memorial.

     Our speaker this month will be Catherine Wright, on “Northumbria Paper Mills”.  This should be of particular interest to anyone whose ancestors worked –or who may have worked – in this once-extensive industry.

     Locally, the Papyrus Fibre Company was established in Claypath Lane, South Shields in the 1880s, producing paper-making materials from chemicals piped over the road from Westoe Soda Works.  It was taken over in 1890 by Team Valley Mills.  Also in our district, at the confluence of the River Don with the Monkton Burn, the Springwell Mills, known locally as Jarrow Paper Mills, were established in 1841 and seem to have continued until at least 1948, so paper-making was definitely one of the many industries of South Tyneside.

     I hope to see you at the meeting,

                Best wishes,

                          Geoff Nicholson

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