The more I dig the curioser it gets!

Over the Christmas break have had a little time to go over some of my own family tree. On my father’s side my lovely, belated uncle Ian Wigston had spent many years researching the Wigston line from Kent to Cumberland and then to Ireland before coming to a halt. Because he had done so much and had hit a brick wall with Irish records I had not previously paid much attention to that side of the family but now seemed a good time to have a deeper dig at it.

For some reason my attention was caught by my first cousin twice removed – not even a direct ancestor but his name popped up a couple of times. This was Thomas Wigston, born in 1881 in Fusehill Workhouse in Carlisle, UK. He is listed in the census with his mother, Sarah Ann Wigston aged just 17 and listed as a sewing machine worker.Oh dear! Curiously enough Sarah Ann appears in the census twice – once as an inmate in the workhouse and then also at home with parents William and Isabella Wigston. To me this indicates that maybe she had not been totally shunned by the family and maybe the door was half-open for her to return once she had found a home or disposed of the newborn Thomas…we may never know!

Thomas has proven hard to track down but I need to order some certificates to be sure of his journey. However he does pop up in the 1911 census married to Hannah Jane Wigston (nee Richardson as her father was conveniently staying with them on the night of the census). They had been married a year and had a 1 month old baby boy named William. By now Thomas was aged 30 and a fuelman on the railways in Carlisle.

Curious about what Thomas had been up to before marrying relatively late in life I searched for military records and as luck would have it his WWI records have survived and show that he served previously for 12 years in the Army Service Corps.So that is what he had been up to! Even more curious is that he had listed as a distinguishing mark a tattoo on his arm with a bust of a woman and the name S.I.S.S.I.E. – who was Sissie or was this done as a drunken dare or joke reflecting his nature as judged by his peers?!

Thomas then spent the war like a game of snakes and ladders being promoted and demoted being AWOL on occasions but also being mentioned in despatches.

It’s funny how some people just prick your curiosity and Thomas is one of those. I am lucky to have found the records I have so far but it’s made me greedy for more. Think he will be my personal 2017 genealogy project. As New Year approaches I raise a glass to you my Thomas!



Online Genealogy Dictionaries & Other References — Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Web is fast replacing reference books. References to almost any information can be found online quickly. In fact, it is often faster to look up information online than to look in a book already on your bookshelf. Of course, an online lookup is also much cheaper than purchasing a reference book. Here are some […]

via Online Genealogy Dictionaries & Other References — Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Christmas is almost upon us!


With most of us scratching our heads about what to buy our nearest and dearest I thought I would contribute some ideas for gifts for genealogists.

It doesn’t need to be an expensive item that may go unused, such as a subscription to Ancestry or FindMyPast, although for many this will be very welcome. Other gifts that genealogists would value include:

  • Page magnifier – for trying to decipher that faded, scrawly handwriting on original documents.
  • Subscription to a family history society – many genealogists research various parts of the country and an extra subscription would be a boon, but I suggest you check what they have already. They usually get regular journasl, access to other members’ records, specialist publications relevant to the area and access to a research room (please check as they do vary).
  • Your time – write down all the snippets that are in your head and present them to the family researcher. They will value this, especially if you can also track down any memorabilia too. Could be just what they are looking for to break down those brick walls.
  • Nice notebook for keeping all those odd notes and research – I find an A4 Moleskin is the ultimate but a smaller or cheaper option would be appreciated.
  • Certificate folder or lever arch file – these can be archive quality from one of the many online stores or an ordinary file from a local stationers.
  • Pencils – these have to be used in archives and record offices, rather than pens. Why not buy a ‘nice’ propelling version but make sure it does not have a built-in rubber as these are sometimes not allowed.
  • Finally, check out my online store for vouchers or packages to suit a range of budgets.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to help.