Zoom presentation by Mr Chris Broom “Humour in Genealogy”
This was our first Saturday afternoon meeting by Zoom. Usually our meeting at Threshfield, but about 29 members and non-members enjoyed linking up with Chris who lives in Suffolk to hear his amusing talk.
Chris had only taken an interest in genealogy about 10 years ago when his father, Trevor, towards the end of his life, felt he would like to know more about his family so Chris began to research and was surprised to take note of many amusing items he came across in different sources and decided he could put together an interesting talk about them.
He decided to have separate headings for his sources which were as follows;
Parish Registers, National Census, Wills, Diaries Journals and Newspapers, Court Registers and Miscellaneous.
He found an amusing baptism entry for two children baptised on the same day, Jan 10th 1813 at Spilsby in Lincolnshire.
Thomas, bastard son of Dymoke Ward, joiner and Liddy Day, whore
Lucy, bastard daughter of John Goodrick, publican and Liddy Day, whore. Oh, and the officiating minister was Rev Trollope!
An early baptism in 1632 at Berkhampstead had the infant entered as ‘name him what you please’, I do hope they decided on a more usual name!
On the 6th May 1776 in Chester, George Harding aged 104, married Jane Darlington, aged 75. Believe it or not, George lived another 8 years!
A poignant note had been added to the marriage register when Christopher Newson married Charity Morrell. ‘Charity Murrell, being entirely without arms, had the ring placed on her 4th toe on her left foot and wrote her name with her right foot’
A mother wanted a note added to the register of marriage of her daughter Dorothy Perkins to Joseph Tracy which took place in Dedham, Essex in 1787. They had apparently married in London but mother thought they should be married again!
Burial registers could also be amusing… John Clark, who was buried in Suffolk in January 1739, was said to be ‘an old miser’ and who can forget Spike Milligan’s epitaph in Ireland ‘I told you I was ill’
Looking at the different census brought us ‘Robert Goodman aged 52, International Playboy’ (Chris thought this a spurious entry on a page full of servants, gardeners, ladies maids and cooks!) There was Howard Benney aged 1yr listed as ‘The Boss’, Catherine Cudrey who occupation was listed as ‘does as she pleases’ and on the 1911 census John Underwood listed each person of his family as greedy or vain or quarrellsome and even of ‘long tongue’! Rose Bloom was living at The Gardens with her daughter, also Rose Bloom aged 20, who was a florist! Some animals even found their way onto the census…..Peter Tabby, servant, a mouser and Tom Cat, fathered 16 children, a mouse fetcher!
A search though newspapers had found an advert ‘Wanted, a Wife for Widower aged 56 years. Must Possess a Fortune. Age not important.’
There were many amusing names that Chris had come across……Morris Dancer, Al Fresco, Eileen Dover, Donald Duck, Gladys Friday, Anna Gram, Easter (Esther?) Bunny, Olive Branch and Minnie Skirt!
Chris played us excerpts from television that had made him laugh…Tommy Cooper, who only had to stand there, hands in position and the famous red fez on his head and everyone was laughing. He had come across a photo of a scene from Dad’s Army where Captain Mainwearing was showing the platoon a piece of paper which was supposed to be from the census….and of course, the caption would have to be…’don’t tell him Pike’!
Chris had obviously enjoyed researching his family tree for his father and in doing so had found many amusing items which made an excellent talk. Well, I’m sure it made us all smile at least and was a real tonic on a Saturday afternoon in lockdown.