Monday, 23 December 2013

Telling the story of telling the story ...

Occasionally I do the diary kind of scrapbooking in pocket-y pages. Not so often that I become one of those "Oh no, I got behind with documenting my boring life" kind of scrapbookers, obviously. You can take a peek at my Easy Pocket Scrapbooking website if you want to know what I mean. And yes, this is something else we'll be teaching on the cruise ships too!

Anyhoo ... here's a page showing a big box of old family photos Maureen (John's Mum for those who don't know her) has kept over the years. Her Dad was a keen photographer so we have lots of photos of her as a child and if you scroll down this blog you'll see some of the repair work I've done on them.

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Many of you have seen what can be done with the old photos and can - surely - imagine how frustrating it is to be promised photos and then get nothing. I have lovely photos from Julie and Judith on the Hills side, lots on John's side and the "Second Family" Horswills (those descended from my Great Great Grandfather Roger Horswill's second marriage) have done a lot on the online family tree which anyone in the family can join. It's the immediate Horswill family who don't deliver! I'm hoping to change this in 2014 before photos are thrown away and a big chunk of our heritage is lost forever.

Design credits: Page was made with Becky Higgins' Project Life Heritage  digital kit

Thursday, 3 January 2013

We have a new website!

I moved our Horswill Family website to Weebly. It's a great system and you can have free accounts on it forever but I upgraded for a few more features. Note the cool slideshow on the home page. The other pages have a different header and it all coordinates with this blog. Oh, yes, we also have a new blog design!

If you think you might want a website any time in the future you'd better take a look now as the price of the Pro upgrade goes up a lot in a few days. CLICK HERE for details.

I changed the name of the site to The Horswill Family to make our various sites/domains/urls more consistent. It still includes ALL our various connected families! The following domains now go to the site (if they don't, try again in a day or two. I only just changed the forwarding and sometimes it takes a while to propagate):

Please pass the word along about the new website!

The Easiest Way to Create a Website.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Maureen at The Beach

We have a LOT of photos of mother-in-law Maureen at the beach! Fortunately her Dad, Fred Tidder, was a keen photographer. Some photos in Maureen's big box were very battered, including this one where a big chunk it was missing. Since I knew what her swimsuit looked liked from other photos I was able to repair it in PSP. Please NEVER assume a damaged photo is not worth sending to me! It's ALWAYS worth trying to fix it. Here's the result:

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I couldn't decide whether to use a black and white or sepia version for the scrapbook page so used both:

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Both pages were made with Raspberry Road's Seashells by The Seahore kit.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Latest Additions - Tidder, Hipson and Wise Families

I finally got round to scanning mother-in-law Maureen's huge box of old photos - and in includes some really old ones. Below is Florence Elizabeth Faunch, Maureen's grandmother. She married twice and Maureen is descended from her second husband. Florence has several photos on our My Heritage site now. You can go to Family Tree and search for her and all her photos will come up. The excellent restoration job was done by Mac from the Family History and Photography group on Facebook:

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The box included a lot of the Hipson family (Maureen's Mum's side) and you can see several albums of them too. Go to Photos then look down the album list on the left for Tidder Family and Hipson-Clack Family. The photos are tagged, where possible, with the relevant names so they show up on the tree.

Speaking of photos on trees, you can download any photos for your own use BUT you must not put them on any online tree on Ancestry, My Heritage or elsewhere. If you do then impolite people will indiscriminately copy them all over the internet. We paid a LOT of money for the premium and private My Heritage site so that this doesn't happen. You'll see that I've now made this a condition of your membership of the site. You need to be careful if you are confirming Smart Matches into another tree that you then REMOVE our photos from yours.

On to more interesting stuff. My second cousin, David Williams, has done a huge amount of work on the Williams side and we've now worked out that the enigmatic Bess, she of the 1875 photo who looks so much like Mum, was in fact Mary Ann Wise, who married a Bradley then married Stephen Joyce. You can now find her in the correct place in the tree (My Heritage and Ancestry). If you know the Hills family you can go to Nan and follow the tree upwards. Just click on anyone's name to show their branch of the tree.

Using the marriage banns records I found Mary Ann (Bess)'s parents too. She lied about her age for the first marriage! Mary Ann's children took the Joyce surname when she married Stephen Joyce (well, before that ...) so I'd thought they were his children from his first marriage.

Here's the lookalike photo of Mum and Bess, her great grandmother.

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An early £10 Pom

John's great aunt Florence Tidder emigrated to Australia after the war. I think she actually pre-dated the "£10 Poms". On the boat she met Mary, from Edinburgh. They became and remained best friends for the rest of their lives and lived near each other in Perth. They made a trip back to the UK about twenty years ago and we took them round the New Forest area.

Amongst Maureen's (John's Mum) huge collection of old photos was this one with the Koala. It was obviously taken by a professional photographer and was very high resolution for its day. I thought Flo deserved a page of her own in the family history album marking her move to Austalia.

The digital kit I used was Raspberry Road's Travelogue. You can see another page of their trip to Ayres Rock HERE

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In pictures...

I couldn't resist making a scrapbook page of the Chosen text. Click on it to go to a larger version in our gallery. I'm thinking of printing it mural size as the answer to "Why do you bother with all these dead people?" The word art column (made with elements from WM Squared's My History kit) also features on the front cover of the report many of the family will receive soon and to the right of this blog. It took me forever to do so it's now used all over the place!

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Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Chosen

Why do some of us work on the family tree and gather photos while some think it's a sad hobby or just ignore it? This was posted on the Family History and Photogrpahy Facebook page (which you can find HERE) by Peter Monaghan. It says it all for me and I know many other genealogists feel the same.

"We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors.

To put flesh on their bones and make them live again.
...To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us". How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying - I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.

It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are.

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those who we had never known before."

by Della M. Cummings Wright.Rewritten by her granddaughter Dell Jo Ann McGinnis Johnson. Edited and Reworded by Tom Dunn, 1943.

CLICK HERE to see this in a scrapbook layout.

Horswill ancestors worked in the mines, going back to gold mining in Cornwall in the early 1800s, from the age of twelve. We mocked Dad when he told us mining stories but I feel immensely proud of that heritage and I know he would have been very proud of the way we're working on the family history now.

December and January are not genealogy months for me as I'm still failing to retire each year and have loads of tax returns to do but in a few short weeks (Eeek, that's how long I have to do the tax returns ...) I'll be working on it again.

Have you joined the MyHeritage site? You can find it on If you can type out your name and email address you can join it! You can then invite others and add what you like to the family tree and photo albums. We have lots of distant cousins joining us from around the globe and I'll tell you about them later.

Have a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year!