Tag Archives: Worcestershire

Online Family History & Heritage Resources

websites montage

Do you ever feel bamboozled by just what is out there in the great big bloggersphere to assist with family history research or do you just need a nudge in the right direction?

Well, worry no more as our Useful Websites List, conveniently arranged into 21 different bite size and clearly identifiable categories may be the panacea to cure most known genealogical ills. The list can guide in trying to locate copies of civil registration certificates, point you in the right direction regarding attempts to locate military records and also put you in touch with other like minded individuals examining aspects of family and local history research. Don’t be shy, give it a go.

Paul Taylor



Recommended: ‘Remember the Fallen’ war memorial website

Remember the Fallen website – www.rememberthefallen.co.uk

Today, as part of the Remembrance Day commemorations, people around the world will gather at their local war memorials to honour those who died to give us the freedom we take so much for granted today.

The Remember the Fallen website has its origins in the work Sandra Taylor began in 1999 as a volunteer fieldworker for the National Inventory of War Memorials (NIWM) recording  and transcribing the names commemorated on Worcestershire’s war memorials.  Thinking this work was finished, Sandra decided that the transcribed names deserved further research so that the names carved on the memorials could be brought to life.

The website has been  funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and contains over 11,000 names found on war memorials and rolls of honour throughout Worcestershire.  Many of these war memorials are close to borders with other counties and may therefore contain names relevant to Birmingham family historians in search of their military ancestors.  Currently over half the casualties have been researched with the information appearing on their individual casualty page.  Research into casualties is an ongoing project and uploads of new information occurs on a regular basis, as does the addition of more war memorials.  Searches can be made by surname or by memorial name and each memorial is represented by a poppy on the Home Page. Click here to access the Remember the Fallen website.

With thanks to Sandra Taylor 

Victorian rambles

Entry for May 1876, Rambles of the Moseley Quartette, MS 3402

The red-leather bound ‘Rambles by the Moseley Quartette’ have intrigued me ever since I accidentally came across them on the muniment room shelves some months ago and browsed through them, enchanted by the beautiful paintings and sketches inside. Many of my colleagues already knew of these volumes and spoke enthusiastically of their charm, but it was not until I started to read them that I began to fully appreciate them. As a keen walker of the countryside surrounding Birmingham, I was delighted to discover that the volumes describe walks, mainly in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, which took place on the last Wednesday of the month between 1868 and 1889 and ended with food, drink and games of whist at one of the members’ houses. Each entry charmingly describes the monthly excursion, frequently with humorous observations, both about the members of the group, the places they visited and the people they encountered, and many are beautifully illustrated. Some of the places described are no longer in the countryside; some were already then becoming built up and some are still places Birmingham residents visit to enjoy a breath of fresh country air.

Illustration of an oast house from an entry describing a Worcestershire walk to Newnham, Knightwick and Worcester, July 1883, MS 3402/3

So who were the Quartette and why the Moseley Quartette? The first entry of volume one tells us that they were George Zair, Samuel Allen Daniel, Thomas Hadley and Howard Shakespeare Pearson. Using a combination of the census returns for each member for 1871 and 1881, with Kelly’s 1868 Directory of Birmingham, White’s 1869 Directory of Birmingham and the 1871 Post Office Directory of Birmingham, it is possible to add a little more detail.

A well earned rest for the ramblers on a walk to Solihull, Olton Hall, Sheldon, Marston Green and Hampton, February 1883, MS 3402/3

By 1871, a few years after they had set up the Quartette, the four young men were all living in Trafalgar Road, Moseley, hence the name. Three of them worked in industry: Thomas Hadley was a nail manufacturer, Samuel A. Daniel had an engraving factory and George Zair was a whip manufacturer. However, Howard Shakespeare Pearson who initially started off as a paper merchant, became a teacher of English Literature at the Birmingham Midland Institute and was involved in, among other things, the Birmingham City Council Public Libraries Committee. His name also crops up in other collections held in Archives and Heritage such as part of the Warwickshire Photographic Survey (MS 2724) and the Pearson Collection of scrapbooks, as well as books he wrote on local history and archaeology. It comes as no surprise to discover that he is also the author of these volumes, with his role as secretary  being to ‘keep correct minutes of happy hours’, ‘pick as much fun out of the rest as he pleases – provided he picks just as much out of himself’ and ‘be as lazy and as much behindhand with the minutes as he chooses’. It is very much an account of happy hours spent with friends that he has left, rather than the more austere image of Victorian gentlemen that is so often portrayed in the archives.

The Quartette on a snowy winter walk to Marston Green and Bickenhill, January 1887, MS 3402/3

Eleanor, Archives assistant

Recommended: Worcestershire Archives blog

Over the last few months Worcestershire archives have been working very hard preparing to move into a fabulous new building. This is something we at Birmingham Archives and Heritage can really relate to!

During this time the staff have been writing an interesting blog (http://www.worcestershirearchives.blogspot.co.uk) showing what they have been up to behind the scenes and what is involved in packing and moving all their collections.

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