About Me

My photo
I currently live in Birmingham and come from Solihull. I have a love of all things crafty, developed from my mom's love of crafts as I was growing up. I currently work in marketing, but I'm a qualified Aromatherapist, and use to be self employed alongside a day job, might one day return to that. I try to fit in crafts when I can, I wish I had more time and money to spend on it! I enjoy researching my family history and finding out about the past. It can get frustrating, but is really rewarding when you have a break through! I hope to meet people with similar interests as me and swap advice/stories.

Family History

Jan 2014
WW1 - Military Records & Discovering Life in WW1

Luke Mizon - My great, great grandfather, joined the army on 6th Dec 1914 age 54! However in his enlistment records he claims to be 45!

Discharge - 20th March 1916 -  3rd London Regiment - cause of discharge - paragraph 392 xvi = no longer physically fit. Age 55/56.

April 2013
General Records - census/electoral rolls

Census records are generally easy to access. You usually need a online paying account, but sometimes websites will have the census available to look at for free for a limited time- usually to entice you to open an account with them.

Census records are great for providing you with more information on your ancestors day to day lives, you can discover their occupation, home address, age, birth place, single or married, children etc. The census however does have its faults.

Be cautious with early census records- they have limited information- so is it the right family? Also ages and birth places can be incorrect. Birth dates were not always known and you can find families whose ages don't quite match up, when this happens try finding birth or marriage records to confirm details and see if it is the right family who simply have miscalulated their age. It could on the other hand be something more, they may well have altered their age or birth place for a reason. One such story I heard in the family was that the family needed my great grand aunt to start work and so altered her birth date on records so she could leave school early and begin working. I also have a suspicious great grand uncle who appears to change his age and birth place whilst he was out in America...still working this one out!

So for birth dates and places, generally the census is good to give you a rough idea, the later the census you could say the more accurate it was, and with more questions asked on the records, even if they have put down the wrong information you have more chance of confirming it was the right family.

More updates soon

Sept 2012
Marriages - Part Two

When researching weddings, one of the lovely things, if your lucky enough to have them, are any photos, cards or any trinkets left from the wedding day.

You can find out who was at the wedding, perhaps you have the wedding day order of events, something from the Church or some written cards given on the wedding day, or cards written after the wedding day which give you little snippet on how the day went.

Sadly I don't think my family has any of these personal trinkets, but we do have some photos. It gives you a real warm feeling to see them on their happy days and it can provide clues to how the day went and who was involved.

So here's a few photos I have scruintized over (it's always good to come back to photos again and again as you can miss things, also get others to look too and if you found out something new about that person or family, again come back and look- you never know what you might pick up!)

November 1904 My great grandparents Henry Edward Smith and Emma Martha Caroline Schulze
This is the only photo we have of their wedding day, from it I think they are at home- they seem to be almost in a greenhouse/conservatory area (it could be a professional photograph but it appears to have a 'homely' feel.) From the image, whilst people do try to look their best on their wedding day, I feel Henry was a very smart, well kept, proud man and his moustach!! Emma appears to be wearing a lacy wedding dress, there seems to be a lot of fabric and she is covered from head to toe, but very elegant. I know this was a Church wedding, we don't know exactly who attended the wedding.

EDIT: I thought it was: c.1921 My great grand uncle Frederick Emil Charles Schulze and Marie Ruzikia. Now known to be Marie Schulze marrying Walter Lawrence Shaw 1914

This is a mystery wedding I'll come back to. We had to deduce who this was to start with. We were able to get a date as the photograph is signed in the bottom corner 'Clara Speight' who turns out to be a male photographer who had a studio in Nuneaton. This fits as we know Fred's brother Arthur married in Nuneaton a few years before, I think their sister may have aswell. This is a great photo for looking at the fashions of the time. We don't know who everyone is, but my great grandfather Henry is at the back, third from the right (doesn't he look quite different from his wedding day? I feel he was unwell or something was 'going on' when this was taken.)

EDIT: I discovered another relative and it turns out this photo is of my great grand aunt - Marie Schulze (Just to confuse things same name) marrying Walter Lawrence Shaw...one mystery solved, though it poses the question still who else is in the photo. I now think my great grandmother Emma is there, third from left and possibly that's Fred Shculze, her brother right in the middle...I'm continuing with my search!


 1932 - grand aunt - Marie Emma Smith and Harry Hirst

A copy of a their wedding day, my grandad is at the back, third on the left. Again you can see the changes in the fashions, particularly the hats the ladies wear. This also seems a 'bigger event', it could just be down to there being more generations of the family around, or they were able to invite more people. I note from this, my great grandfather, Marie's father, is not in the photo, but her mother is. Little observations like this can have a bigger impact in looking at your overall family history.

1938 - my grandparents wedding John Lovelock and Florence Johnson
Not a brilliant copy of the photo, but you can clearly see this photo seems to capture a very happy day. Again we have not yet identified all the people in the photograph, I assume on my grandad's left is his best man (or possibly a brother) and on my nan's right I would assume that was her father. Again you can see the change in the dress styles.

 So go back and look over your photos. I'll come back to the topic of photos another time, but remember check for any names, dates, photographic company names - these can help you narrow down dates and track where people were at certain times.
Good Luck!

Aug 2012
Marriages - Part One

Marriages are always interesting to research. You can find out so much and if you're lucky you might have a photo of the day too.

Marriage certificates also open up so many more doors, they will tell you full names, ages, address, occupations, parents and where they married. Some of this information may confirm or conflict with other details you have. Sometimes the information can highlight what is clearly a white lie and lead you to ask why they lied (it may be that ages differ or information on other documents such as a census do not match.)

Getting the certificate
If you do not a orignial or copy of a family members marriage certificate you can search for it on various sites including: Ancestry, Find my past, BMD (free search) etc. You will need to have names, rough idea of location or date will also help.

You will be presented with the certificate page details and sometimes you will see a scan of the page where your ancestors name is listed. If you do not know the spouses name you may find several possible records, so try and narrow it down, look at other records such as a census to shorten the list. You may find you have to take a gamble and order the one you think most likely to be your ancestor.

If you do know the spouse details you can search by their name and see if it brings up the same certificate details. You can then order your certificate through GRO or family history site.

Above: Marriage of my x3 great grandparents
Place: St Jude Parish of Bethnal Green
Date: 24th Oct 1858
Groom: Charles Hollingsworth, 44yrs, Widow, Smith, 3 Anns Place
Father: Joseph Hollingsworth, Labourer
Bride: Sarah Clapham, 32yrs, Spinster, 3 Gloucester Place
Father: Thomas Clapham, Carpenter
You can see Charles signs with an 'X' (suggesting he was illiterate) and their witnesses were a George Hollingsworth and an Eliza Heal?
These extra names are always interesting as they may crop up in other records you have.

Another form of search that can prove invaluable are parish records. Sometimes you can get the same details in a parish record of the marriage.

Here is an example of my Great Grandparents wedding detailed in London Parish Records:

Place: St Thomas Church, Parish of Bethnal Green
Date: 30th August 1891
Groom: Henry Lovelock, 23yrs, Brick Maker, 27 Arline Street.
Father: Thomas Lovelock, Stoker
Bride: Sarah Eliza Hollingsworth, 21yrs, Confectioner, 27 Arline Street
Father: Alfred Hollingsworth, Blacksmith

You can see their signatures (Henry's 'X' suggests he was illiterate), as well as the signatures of those who attended- this can often being very interesting you can make a few assumptions, here we have two Hollingsworths sign, one of which I beleive was Sarah's uncle also marks with an 'X'. Sometimes no family members sign and you might find, or assume, none of the family actually attended the wedding.

A few other interesting points include the fact that Sarah was a working woman, suggesting she came from a working background and was required to make a living, particularly if the family was poor. Also the address you note is the same for them both. This does not always mean they were living in the same household, but that in order to marry within a certain Church the individuals had to be living within a certain area, so sometimes they would use an address and claim to live there just in order to marry within that Church.

What else can you deduce? Look at the location of the marriage, sometimes you can find information about the Church on the interent and if it's still standing, even get photos. Another key issue is the location. Bethnal Green was notorious as a poor area in London, and would have been pretty rough in the 1890s too, so you can imagine that life was hard and that the family had to work to keep going and avoid the workhouse! Often several families shared one house.
By simply looking up descriptions of the area your family lived in, you can deduce what sort of lifestyle they had. My initial thoughts here are that they had it tough!

Look out for further updates soon.

June 2012

A great way to find out more about a family is through birth records, including birth certificates, parish records (baptisms), as well as census records.
Birth certificates are great for confirming details and providing other links for you to follow. They will give you parent names (mothers maiden name), an address for birth and address of informant alongside the occupation of the father. Please note the further back you go there is less detail as not all of these details were required.

Here is an example of my great grandmother, Florence Mizon’s birth certificate from 1894. You can see district, addresses, parent names, occupation as well as a signature from my great - great grandmother. This indicates she was educated as she signs clearly her name, sometimes you may find attempts by people to sign their names or sometimes simply an X showing they couldn’t write and unlikely that they could read. This in itself gives you an indication to what sort of background and family they came from, although (as with all documents) you have to be careful not to make too many assumptions, you never know what else you may find at a later stage.

Another keynote to make is the date of registration for the birth. Births were meant to be registered in a fixed time frame, however I know that my grandfather’s birth was not and his father ‘forgot’ to register him (well the youngest of 11…) and so his birth was registered as the 28th Dec instead of the 26th Dec and it was his sister who remembered the actual date, although my grandfather celebrated on the 26th he later changed the date officially.

Parish records are also highly important when researching births, again they provide dates, parents names and address (sometimes just an area), they can also include occupations and tell you which religion the child was baptized under.

Here is an example from 1820, my great x3 grandfather. You may find that the child had two names and reverted to using their middle name, or simply you didn’t know they had a middle name and this can help in later searches.

I find the dates from birth to baptism interesting, you would assume that back then when child fatality was so high children would be baptized very quickly after birth, however sometimes there is a big gap. This can be for several reasons, but sometimes you may find siblings are baptized together, or even cousins.

Finally another document to look at, but taken with a pinch of salt, is the census. Generally you find a variation of dates for births, often because it depends what time of the year the census was taken as they base the birth by the persons age at the time, but also a common reason is simply that people did not know. They were likely to have a general idea, but were not completely sure. There is also one more reason for discrepancies in birth dates and ages, and that’s because the person or persons were trying to hide something!

One example I have in my family is my great-great uncle Fred Schulze. He lives for a time in Chicago and we traced him on the US census, with his ‘wife’ (I say ‘wife’ as there is uncertainty over that too), he claims to be 30 years old, married, born in Illinois and his occupation changes too. We know this is him as a US WW1 record shows all his correct details- birth, born in Birmingham, England etc and has two addresses, one of which is this Chicago address…what he was up to we do not yet know!

So be warned, do not be surprised if you find records with differences, they may be slight or they may be big differences…that hard part is finding out why! Good Luck with your own searches!

Parish Records - A lot more parish records are being put online all the time, you can search general areas and look for particular parishes in a certain area, or use some of the websites below who already have records online.
Ancestry.co.uk - lots of records to search through and once you set up your tree it advises you of possible record matches.
Find my past - I feel the search facility on here is not as good, but I won a years access after my letter was published in a magazine and I have found records on here that I couldn't find elsewhere.
Family History Societies - these are good sources to help you find what parishes were around at the time of your ancestors, often they are very helpful in giving you ideas wher eto look, some may even help you look.
FreeBMD - This allows you to search births, marriages and deaths and provides you with the certificate reference details.

There are many other places you can look, but this is a good starting point.

June 2012
As a BIG family history fan, I thought I'd start a page about my family and my discoveries so far.
There is a lot on both sides of the family that I have discovered, but also a lot still to discover. I will include photos and stories, tips given to me and tips that might be useful for your own family history projects!

I thought I'd start this page with a few images and some tips, before going into all the discoveries and mysteries and brick walls that I've found through my research.

So here are my grandparents on their wedding day in 1938:

John Lovelock and Florence Johnson in Edmonton

My grandfather, Edward Smith c1905 Birmingham (the dog in this photo always makes me smile!)

My great grandparents Henry Edward Smith and Emma Smith (nee Schulze)

My nan, Florence Johnson (centre, young girl) with parents and siblings. My great grandparents were Florence Johnson (nee Mizon) and Albert Johnson. Photo 1925.

I figure for this section of my blog, I will do general posts like this, but also specific topics. Family history can be so very compliacted. Focusing on a topic will allow me to look at both sides of the family and can be quite interesting making comparisons between them. I may also do posts on specific families or any signifcant years/events that happened. If you have any thoughts or something you would like to know about so you can look at your own family just let me know.

Tips: Websites
The internet these days is one of the first places people go to when researching their family. I have used several websites over the years and here are some recommended sites you could start with (also note there are many websites specific to areas/occupations etc)

Ancestry.co.uk - lots of records to search through and once you set up your tree it advises you of possible record matches.
Find my past - I feel the search facility on here is not as good, but I won a years access after my letter was published in a magazine and I have found records on here that I couldn't find elsewhere.
Genes Reunited - it was through here a few years ago a distant American relation found my dad, this led to a meeting and lots of family photos and even a large book of notes she had compiled (all very detailed) we plan to re-visit this side of the family as this was a project I was not involved in so most of it will be new to me.
The National Archives - allows you to search for records and then you can find out if you can get a copy of the records (you pay for someone to copy this) or note the details and go to London- hopefully one I'll visit the archives.

These websites will help you get started, I will also note others of relevance to posts I make. There are also some free websites including:
The London Gazette - newspaper records for businesses (insolvency), public notices, special events etc.
FreeBMD - This allows you to search births, marriages and deaths and provides you with the certificate reference details.


  1. This is lovely! what a great idea!


    1. Thanks Michelle. I hope others find it useful and interesting. I will be doing another post just as soon as I get the chance to get organised!