Social History/Genealogy

A Great Aunt on the paternal (Furneaux) side of my family tree

I have always had a fascination for social history, most particularly that which relates to 19th and early 20th century London. My degree in Law, whilst of no particular use to me (I am quite incapable of putting forward an argument on something important to me without getting teary and emotional) fitted me for my career as a researcher into social exclusion and as an amateur genealogist.

I am now a freelance writer and researcher and have dabbled in writing about my family and other aspects of social history which interest me on this blog. I have established this page on which I will link to any blog posts so far written that include aspects of family and social history. I will also post regularly to this page with any interesting snippets from my family history and with information, including links to other blogs, that I have found useful.

August 25th 2012 – on my main blog

Inside Banstead Hospital, Carson. From the Henry Boxer Gallery

Sarah’s Story – Family history from the darkest places On my Great Grandfather’s wife Sarah Hardiman and living for more than 50 years in a Victorian Mental Hospital..



March 21st 2012 – On my main blog

Banstead Mental Hospital

Telling ‘Sarah’s Story’ – finding truth in family history

On a successful piece of detective work that tells a sad story. Sarah Hardiman (first and only ‘legal’ wife of my Great grandfather George) may have spent 40 years, and certainly died, in a mental hospital. This means there is now madness, murder and illegitimacy in the Hardiman story. Should I write the story? How do I do it sensitively?

October 21st 2011 – On my main blog

Steinberg memorial

An Islington Murder

In which I look at a murder and suicide that took place in Clerkenwell, not far from where my Great Uncle Alfred killed his ex-girlfriend and then took his own life 90 years later. The similarities are striking but mercifully, my  Great Uncle’s case was handled rather more sympathetically.

October 12 2011 – On my main blog

Clerkenwell, 1805

Calling Clerkenwell home – roots in roguish & revolutionary soil

A look at Clerkenwell, an area where many of my ancestors lived and worked. It has a fascinating history – frequented by political activists and home to one of the largest criminal populations in London.

August 30 2011 – A new post on my main blog

The mystery of the missing grandmother – or’Oh Bessie, where art thou?’

Inspired by Debra at A Pocket Full of Family Memories I look at the story of my grandma Bessie and the mystery of her early life. Was she really a Hardiman? Was she actually ‘Bessie’ at birth? If so, why can’t I find her?

June 8th 2011 – In which I find out my 3x Great Grandfather was a hero at Trafalgar

My family has always known that my grandfather on the maternal side – Arthur Addison – was related to someone who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. A mysterious medal  had been passed down to my mother, who has since given it to my brother. He provided me with the photo of it above. It is really rather lovely, although the ribbon is a little fragile.

My late cousin Pat undertook some research for Mum more than 15 years ago and discovered that her 2x Great Grandfather, Dominic (or Dominick, or Dominique) Addison had been on the Royal Sovereign – the ship captained by Cuthbert Collingwood which led the second line into the Battle of Trafalgar. He was, according to the Maritime Information Centre in Greenwich, also at the capture of Java.

She also found out a great deal about the medal. Apparently there was no issue of a general medal for the Royal Navy’s participation in the Napoleonic Wars until 1847. In a petition to the House of Lords in 1845 from survivors of the army who took part in the Penninsular War for some decoration in recognition of their services, the Duke of Wellington suggested that the navy should also be eligible for decoration. So the Military & Naval General Service Medal came to be issued in 1847. It was awarded to officers, non-commisioned officers, petty officers, soldiers and sailors present at any action between 1793 and 1815, a date later extended to 1840. The men had still to be alive in 1847 and had to put in a claim to the Secretary of the Admiralty and be entered on the medal roll. Clasps were then issued to each man bearing the names of the actions, places or ships they were involved in. Dominic Addison’s medal (above) has the clasps for Trafalgar and for Java. My cousin Pat even found a similar medal had been discussed on Antiques Roadshow in 1995. The Napoleonic clasps were quite rare, as so few men were still alive in 1847 to claim them.

Cuthbert Collingwood – A portrait by Henry Howard from the Greenwich Hospital

The Addison branch of the family tree had been comprehensively researched by Pat so I had been focusing my attentions on other areas where my work would feel ‘original’. However, I then saw on Channel 4 ‘The Untold Battle of Trafalgar’ back in March. This rekindled my interest. It told the story of the many nationalities of sailor recruited to fight on the ships in Nelson’s fleet. Many were black, ex-slaves and others were from European countries where similar opportunities to earn what was basically performance related pay were not available. It showed through reconstruction how the battle would have been fought and the conditions on board ship, which were truly terrible. As was the storm that followed the victory. Much of the ‘spoils’ of war ended at the bottom of the sea and the pay for the lower orders was far less than was hoped. The men had risked being blown to pieces, suffering crippling injuries or drowning, many for a country that was not even their own.

I am lucky to have online research facilities not available to Pat, who died suddenly before her research was finished. She had planned a visit to the National Archives, but I am now able to look up these records at Nelson, Trafalgar and those who served on the National Archives website. There I could see all the relevant records, scanned and found out straight away that Dominick Addison was an Able Seaman who was in the navy for many years. It also indicated that he was born in Toulon in southern France – something we had not known, and ended his life a Greenwich Pensioner. I checked these facts through Pat’s records, and found online the parish record of his marriage to Mary Gunn at Christchurch, Greyfriars, Newgate in 1815. By the 1851 census he was living with his sister in law, an eating-house keeper in Southwark, recorded as a Greenwich pensioner born in Toulon, France. I also have his death certificate – he died in 1853, in Greenwich Hospital aged 71.

The port of Toulon, France

Now I am fascinated by this man, who was clearly a sailor through and through, not just in the thick of battle for the war chest he hoped to share in. He had no wealth, and lived his last years in a poor part of London, but he had been proud of his service, applying for the medal he had so richly deserved through all his years with the fleet, and not least at the Battle of Trafalgar. Now I want to know  more about his origins. Was he of French descent? We have always thought Addison a very English name – so perhaps his father was stationed at Toulon, which was, and still is, an important French naval port. Or was he part of the large Royalist community of Toulon who continued to support Louis XVI as the French Revolution raged and who took the opportunity, as many did , of fleeing with the English by joining up?

I am not sure how to take this further now, and would be grateful for any hints as to how I can pursue this possible French line. I am commited to finding out as much as possible about his life as an Able Seaman, his years back in London and his time as a Greenwich Pensioner. From thinking there was little in the Addison story left for me to discover I have now found a naval hero in my family and cannot wait to find out more!

May 17th 2011a new post on my main blog

The Clerkenwell Outrage of 1867 – Irish Republicanism in London

The fascinating story of the Fenians in Islington, an attempted prison break and the last man to hang in public in England.

May 12th 2011 – Guest slot at Kith and Kin Research

Hellish Nell: Helen Duncan –  spiritualist, martyr or fraud?

The story of wartime spiritualist Helen Duncan and her trial under the Witchcraft Act in 1944.

26th April 2011 – a new post on my main page

George Cruikshank ‘London Going Out of Town’ 1829

‘This enormous Babel of a place’ – On learning of London before the Victorians

Looking into the history of London between 1810 and 1830 and realising how fascinating the period is.

13th April 2011 – Creative genealogy – or family history without the boring bits

My title, which owes something to the book History Without the Boring Bits by Ian Crofton (a book that I think perfect only for flicking through in the loo) may suggest I have become something of a philistine. Or worse – a columnist on the Daily Fail, imploring everyone to write a story in the most prurient and sensational way without thought to establishing the truth and recognising sources.

No – what I have been doing is planning.  I have recently spent some time analysing what would make a ‘history’ interesting to the broadest possible audience. My research background is not specifically historical, so how, as an amateur, do I bring the minutiae of one person’s existence to life? How do I write a family and social history that has interest not only to myself and my immediate family, but to following generations and the wider community?

I am involved in two social and family history projects at the moment. One belongs to someone else, but the other is my own work on the story surrounding my great-uncle Alf Hardiman, about whom I wrote recently in Keep it in the family. They both require careful thought, as both are very personal endeavours fraught with those feelings that hold us back when writing family history, the most notable of which is the desire ‘do them justice’.

I believe that one certain way to lose someone’s interest is to present your family history to them as a list of dates – births, marriages, deaths, addresses etc etc. It is the family history equivalent of showing someone your holiday snaps. So how do I write what needs to be an engaging narrative?

So, here is my plan so far:

1) I feel I want to write to a theme. It could simply be linear, ie ‘What they did in the 1820s. 30’s 40’s’ etc, but I think that may be dull and lead to problems with structure if a decade wasn’t particularly eventful. Alternatively it could be about one particular family member. For example should I stay with my great uncle’s life as somehow symbolic of the effects of war? Or of an unorthodox upbringing? That could successfully include the early life of his parents in Victorian London and the lives of his siblings and their children in the 20th century. Or am I looking at how the family’s gradual rise from poverty into a ‘respectable’ suburban London existence over the course of 150 years served to mask tragedy?

2) I need to consider how typical my family is. How far their actions, lifestyle etc reflect the spirit of the age they lived in. Can their lives offer a new perspective on a familiar story? For this I think I need to really get to know the family (as far as is possible from a distance) as people, and appreciate how their lives changed as centuries progressed. At the very least I need to make sure any research I do is robust and takes into account all the information available to me. Family history can take us off on to paths unknown. I need to be sure there will be no surprises that come to light only after publication.

3) In my short foray into screenwriting I learned that stories work best when they examine some sort of conflict. It doesn’t have to be played out on a big stage; it can be within the family. Certainly there was direct conflict in Alf’s life – it led him to murder. However, the wider context – the attitude of his father to the women in his life, ‘lunacy’ in the family home, his illegitimacy, mental health issues following the Great War and stifling middle class mores – also offer opportunities to speculate and think creatively.

4) I think that the most successful stories are those told by someone who can empathise with and feel deeply about their subject – but remaining objective is the key. One must not so fall in love with one’s ancestors that one lets emotions over-rule evidence.

5) I think each of us writing up a history – whether it be of a person, place or subject –  has to think about what it is that maintains our interest in the story we are telling. For me, an examination of the social history of the time and place our ancestors inhabit is key to ensuring the story is interesting to a wider audience. Perhaps our ancestors challenged perceived norms; behaved in a way that is unexpected; believed in something unorthodox. The only way to really bring that to life is to have a thorough understanding of the world they inhabited.

6) Whose point of view am I writing from? How can I be sure I am not imposing 21st century judgements onto 19th century lives? I think this is intrinsically linked to remaining objective. The moment I feel I have become too emotionally involved with the story is the moment to step back and rethink. Even if it isn’t obvious to me, the fact that I am part of the story will be obvious to anyone coming to it for the first time.

7) And to come full circle, having decided on the theme and developed a structure, where should I draw the boundaries? How many names do I include? I believe it best to keep the number of characters small. Even a genius like Dickens lost track of his cast on occasion. And as one of my characters is likely to be London itself I have to be sure I don’t attempt a history of the great city. Many have done that better than I ever could. Perhaps I should focus on the area of North London where my family lived for about 200 years. Better to cover a small area well than a larger one with less rigour.

So now all I have to do is order my research, work hard to fill in the gaps and then get writing! If you can see I have missed a vital point, or have any other ideas I would love to hear from you. So let the fun begin….

29th March 2011– a new post on my main page.

Great Grandma Clara Hardiman. Did she hold the family together after the tragedy?

‘Keep it in the family’ – can a family history ever reveal the truth of tragedy ?

I update the story behind a previous post ‘An Unsound Mind’ with new evidence and more questions…

7th March 2011

Samuel Furneaux – ‘black sheep’ or misunderstood? The evidence mounts….

First of all, I must apologise to my newly discovered distant cousin Stephen who has done a considerable amount of useful work on the Furneaux side of my family only to find that I have published scandalous details of our ancestor, Samuel Furneaux, and his brush with the law of Sodomy in late-Victorian London. (See the post below dated 26th January). Stephen is more directly related to Samuel and it is a good thing that he appears to have a good sense of humour. This is because, like some dreadful tabloid hack, I am about to publish some more salacious details of a further appearance by Samuel at the Old Bailey, once more discovered by my cousin, Peter Heather.

As detailed in January, despite being thrice married and twice widowed our Samuel could not get enough of the company of ladies. Old Bailey records show that he made an appearance before the court as an apparent victim  (‘prosecutor’ ) in 1878.

Samuel, and most of my Furneaux ancestors lived in St Pancras and Somers Town in the second half of the 19th century. At this time Samuel was living in Sidney Street, an area replaced by a ‘Garden Estate’ in the 1930’s and described at that time as “insanitary and overcrowded……. where whole families lived in a single room and children had to sleep five to a bug-infested bed”. For some reason, however,  Samuel was walking down the Euston Road at well past one thirty on the November morning in question. Suddenly, he claimed, he was set upon by two women, Ellen Miles aged 20 and Sarah Gallaghan aged 25. Their occupation is not specified but when Charles Booth undertook his ‘Survey into life & labour in London’ just a few years later (1886 to 1903) he described this area of the Euston Rd as having a number of “hotels of questionnable repute and some regular brothels”. In fact the problem of prostitution had become so acute that he went on to say that the police had “a regular crusade against the houses here” in an effort to drive them out of the area.  It is quite likely therefore that Ellen and Sarah were members of that ‘oldest’ of professions.

In the witness-box Samuel told the court that he had shouted ‘police!’ when one woman had grabbed him around the waist and the other had torn his shirt and collar. He apparently feared for the safety of his pocket watch. There were two witnesses, both only coming to the scene after Samuel had cried out. In the court report  Charles Bridges, a policeman, states:

I heard the cries of “Police!” and on going to the spot saw that the two prisoners had hold of the prosecutor, who charged them with assaulting him and attempting to steal his watch and chain—I took them to the station—I saw the two men spoken of and heard Miles say, “Go and get me bail from No. 8, West Street”—I do not know if that is where the prisoners live—the prosecutor was quite sober.

The two women were found ‘not guilty’, rather suggesting that the court did not believe Samuel’s account of events. Bearing in mind the jury would have been all male at that time there might be a number of reasons why the women were not convicted. Possibly they were well-known to the local male population. However, if the women were prostitutes, the jury may well have believed Samuel to be a ‘punter’ who had perhaps not paid the required cost of any service that had been provided.

There but for the grace of God go many men in that part of Victorian London (looking at Charles Booth’s maps an odd mix of affluence and desperate poverty); and for all we know he may indeed be the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. But bearing in mind his behaviour in the church with another woman when his wife was at home eight months pregnant I fear he was just the victim of an overwhelming need for risky sexual encounters.

This is a fascinating story. From thinking that my paternal side of the family tree showed every sign of rather dull fortitude in the face of grinding poverty it now seems we have our very own ‘black sheep’. It illustrates how vital it is to research around the lists of names on a tree to understand better the lives our ancestors lead. Even if they are not exactly models of propriety.

10th February 2011

The best school of genealogy – learning from my ancestor’s lives

I have been researching the history of my family for the past ten years. There have been long gaps of course, when I have hit the ‘brick wall’ and had to wait either for new online records or for the precious hours for a trip to London to look in the archives. However, there has never been a time when I have not been keen to find out new things about my ancestors and the times they lived through and recently I have realised how much I have learned about historical and genealogical research in order to do just that. Those in the past have almost literally led me to sources of information about themselves, and their lives, that I never knew existed, and have encouraged this seasoned employment and skills researcher into a whole new, and fascinating, specialism.

I have virtually ‘met’ some marvellous people via social networking sites (twitter and Facebook). I have learned a lot from them and from the websites they manage (many of which I list at the bottom of this page). I have joined a genealogy forum (United Kingdom Genealogy Forum)and a group specifically developed to support and bring together genealogists who have a blog (Geneabloggers) I have also been put into contact with relatives I never knew I had via websites (GenesReunited and Lost Cousins) and have benefitted from work they had already done to link to my tree.

However, it is researching the lives, and deaths, of three particular individuals that has taught me the most. Over the past four years these three men, and the choices and mistakes they made, have helped me navigate my way around all the genealogist’s key sources – the records of births, deaths and marriages, census records, military records and wills and probate. But they have also taken me to sources that an amateur like myself may not know exist. Firstly there is my Great Grandfather George Hardiman. He is a man who had children over three decades with both his wife and his domestic servant and his story led me to websites about lunatic asylums and a study of the treatment (or lack of it) of women with mental health issues (his wife is listed as a ‘lunatic’ in the 1881 census). Then the life of his son (my Great Uncle) Alfred Hardiman (the subject of my most-read post ‘An Unsound Mind’)  took me to Coroners records, newspaper archives and detailed military records to try to make sense of the mental health issues that plagued him following his service in the Great War and which contributed to his murdering his ex girlfriend and killing himself. And most recently the discovery of a Great Uncle on my father’s side, the Samuel Furneaux whose sexual exploits in a church are revealed in an earlier entry on this page. Through him I have learned more about the mid-Victorian jury system, records available from the Old Bailey and the censorship of the reporting of certain sexual crimes.

I have made a particular effort to study and understand the Victorian and Edwardian Londons they lived in (Samuel’s city was very different from Alf’s), something I consider absolutely vital. As Luke Mouland says in his Kith & Kin Research blog, ‘it might be said that a family tree is worthless unless the lives of the people featured on it can be placed into context’ so I have studied local history sources, church records and the history of the north London suburbs. This has, I believe, been the key to the enjoyment I still get from this subject. It is real social history and by studying our ancestors in this context we become historians, not just of our own family but of the times that frame the lives we live now.

3rd February 2011

A new post on my main blog – The history in our supermarket trolleys – 50 years of food fashion

In which I take a nostalgic look at the foods that featured in our baskets when supermarkets first started moves for world domination…

26th January 2011

‘It was all a horrible misunderstanding M’Lud…’

All Saints Church, Camden Town, 1828

Samuel Furneaux (b.1839) was the brother of my Great Grandfather  George Furneaux (b.1844). The Furneauxs lived in a very poor part of London around St Pancras Station, but were by all accounts a generally hardworking and sober lot.

Up to now, that has rather disappointed me. I do like a bit of juicy scandal or historical intrigue on my family tree and on other lines I have found just that. However, following my own maiden name has been interesting but unremarkable. Until now that is. A cousin with whom I have recently re-connected has told me a story about Samuel that is not a little racy.

Samuel worked as a plasterer all his life. His occupation is the least interesting fact about him though as he seems singularly unlucky in love. Living at the family home in Sidney Street, he first married Dora Tolley, a dressmaker, on 1 February 1863 at St Pancras parish church. However within ten years he was a widower.

A year later on 9 August 1874, Samuel, by now 35, married one Ann Hase who was a 28 year old spinster at All Saints Church, Camden Town. Samuel claimed at the time that he was a bachelor and by now he was living at 127 Great College Street.  Once again, within a decade he was alone again. Ann died in St Pancras in 1883.

Undaunted,  Samuel, now 45 years old, married again within a year. This time the lucky (she needed to be) woman was a 26-year-old widow named Harriet Fogden, who took her chances and married him on 14 April 1884 again at All Saints Church, Camden Town. At least this time Samuel admitted that he was a widower.

This is where Samuel’s story really becomes interesting. Despite being only recently married with a new wife in the advanced stages of pregnancy Samuel apparently succumbed to some kind of temptation. Old Bailey records show he was tried on 24 June 1885  accused of ‘ indecency’ with a woman named Annie Williams, aged 32. Records suggest that he and Annie were engaged in an ‘act’ in full view of one ‘Margaret Dickson and other persons’, which resulted in them both being arrested for indecent exposure. This sounds embarrassing enough, but the offence apparently took place in the Church of Our Lady, Kentish Town.  Unfortunately the transcript of the trial has not survived as I am sure it would be fascinating. However, records do show that Samuel and his ‘lady friend’ were found not guilty by the jury.

Despite the accusation, the marriage to Harriet lasted a long time and the couple had two children, Samuel Joseph in 1885 and Florence Louisa in 1887. The family was all together at 28 Milton Grove, Islington in 1891 and at 5 Brand Court, Islington in 1901.

Samuel eventually died, aged 67, in 1906 and the brave Harriet followed him, aged 50, in 1911.

Perhaps it was all a horrible misunderstanding. One can imagine the good ladies of the church, polishing the pews and arranging the flowers, just happening upon Samuel and the mysterious Annie (about whom we know nothing) in a compromising position. Maybe Annie had innocently volunteered to help Samuel with the fastenings on his breeches, or perhaps she had stumbled whilst praying and had fallen, accidentally pulling his trousers down as she did so. Do you believe that? I don’t.

How I would love to have been a ‘fly on the wall’. Samuel’s love life is a beacon of naughtiness in an otherwise poverty-stricken but largely respectable family line. I just hope he made it up to Harriet, poor woman.

12th January 2011

A new post on my main blog page –  No sex please:we’re hypocrites

Inspired by Ian Hislop and Amanda Vickery I pontificate on Georgian and Victorian views on sex and gender. Including famous quotes and a disturbing Act of Parliament…

8th January 2011

I expect there may be a fair few updates to this site in the next few days as I think of all sorts of new things I would like to include on this page. Bear with me!

I thought I should include, early on, a list of the surnames I am currently researching. There are many branches of my own tree, and that of my husband, that I have dabbled in, with greater or lesser success. However, my main focus is now on:

Hardiman – This is the family mentioned in ‘An Unsound Mind’. I have found murder, suicide, mental health issues, a great-grandfather who had children alternately with wife and servant and a cousin who was a well-respected sculptor of national monuments. It is Clerkenwell and Islington based as far back as I can so far trace.

Furneaux – My maiden name and one to which I am much attached. There are strong connections to the railways and rumours of descent from Huguenots, as yet unconfirmed. It may be a family myth; the name goes back as far as Norman times. Unitl the 20thC the family lived in poverty in St Pancras and Somerstown in London.

Addison – My mother’s maiden name. Generations of London coffee and eating house keepers have been traced back to a 3xGt Grandfather who served as Able Seaman at the Battle of Trafalgar. Curiously, I have recent found records at the National Archives suggesting he was French.

Grogan – my married name. My husband ‘feels’ Irish and his grandfather was born in Dublin and rumoured to be a runner for Michael Collins. This is a difficult name to trace back without interesting but costly trips to Ireland but I have discovered cousins alive in Dublin and Spain as well as the UK. However, much secrecy surrounds recent family history, which I have to respect.

7th January 2011

Posts so far….

This first update will include links to all the blog posts on the theme of social history/genealogy so far included on nowriggling. I also have a separate page dedicated to the poet John Keats – his work his life and the early 19th century world he lived in. If you have time, take a look there too – I would love to interest you in that most wonderful of men.

An ‘Unsound Mind’ – bringing a family history into the open

The story of a tragic murder committed by my Great Uncle and his immediate suicide which opened up a history of mental health issues on the maternal side of my family. This post received many interesting and heartfelt comments from others who saw family history as a way to identify links with their own mental ill-health.

On becoming an old fossil – living (and living in?) the past

On a trip to Lyme Regis to look for fossils and ruminations on why the past becomes more alluring the older we get

A day in which I solve a murder and learn how NOT to interest children in history

A day spent with a friend and her 8 year old daughter following a rather unnecessarily dull murder-cum-history trail around my home town. Wellington actually has a far more interesting history than it suggested.

Of Pumpkin, pall and poetry – what really makes me sleep with the  light on

For Hallow’een, a post on my love of the Victorian gothic, Edgar Allan Poe and the ghosts of the British Isles.

Folio stand or Facebook App – or there is nothing new under the sun

On Belton House, Bargain Hunt and the love of a library full of books and fabulous furniture over a Smartphone App and an e-book reader.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner….

I may now live in Somerset but my heart is still in the City. How my study of family history was partly to establish once and for all that I am a ‘real’ Londoner.

A big ‘thank you’ as An Unsound Mind hits the newstands

In December 2010 I had an article published in Family Tree magazine based on the original ‘Unsound Mind’ blog post at the top of this list. Even though I have had articles published before, this one on my family history of mental health issues felt the most personal.

In Praise of Pooter and a Victorian Christmas

A ‘Victorian’ Christmas is one that feels most traditional and right for me (hence the links to the BBC ‘Victorian Farm Christmas’ web pages). However, we have to recognise that the rampant consumerism we associate with Christmas in the 21st century was started by Victorian shoppers. A quote from The Diary of a Nobody shows how poor old Charles Pooter suffered in the scrum of Christmas shopping in the 1890’s.

I have also written posts on my own childhood in the 1970’s. From Bunty to Blyton – a childhood library looks at how I recall my early years by looking at the books I most enjoyed reading and On the ‘Cresta’ of a wave… down memory lane to the retro sweetshop looks at our continuing love affair with ‘old-fashioned’ sweets.

My Favourite Sites

(In alphabetical order. Please note, I do not take responsibility for the accuracy or content of any of sites listed.)

The Cat’s Meat Shop Author Lee Jackson’s entertaining blog acts as an appendix to his wonderful Dictionary of Victorian London, a website packed with a vast amount of information on all aspects of the history of Victorian London.

Family Tree Folk The offer of the largest selection of family history gifts in the UK is a great draw to this site, but it also offers an expert genealogy and family history research service and a blog –Genealogy Gazette – full of fascinating hints and tips for anyone interested in tracing their family history.

Georgian London This site was voted ‘History Website of 2009’ by readers of History Today online. Lucy’s expert knowledge ensures it is full of interesting and entertaining posts on life in 18th century London.

Kith and Kin UK Luke Mouland is a young man who has already established himself as a professional genealogist, writer on matters historical and entertaining blogger. Kith and Kin Research offers a full family history research service, and Kith and Kin Research: The Blog highlights Luke’s passion for genealogical story telling.

London Historians A comprehensive source of information for all those interested in the history of the capital, acting as a hub and a ‘club’ for London historians. There are tours, articles and a regular blog.

London Roots Research Rosemary Morgan is an experienced researcher and professional genealogist who writes an interesting blog offering tips and stories from her own family history. London Roots can offer a wide range of genealogy services, largely focused on London and the Home Counties.

Madame Guillotine Self confessed history geek and Versailles-obsessed writer Melanie posts regularly on subjects as diverse as Whitechapel and the Ripper murders and the French Revolution. Lusciously illustrated, her blog has a wide readership and a very comprehensive link to other interesting blogs.

The Quack Doctor Fascinating source of information on historical medical horrors – pills, potions, items of medical paraphernalia that look as if they have come straight from a torture chamber. Complete with original newspaper advertisements.

Turnip Rail Turnip Rail looks at the British railway system (past, present and future) – complete with interesting facts and frequent frustrations – in its social, economic and political context.

United Kingdom Genealogy A great genealogy forum. Relatively new but peopled with professional experts and keen amateur genealogists. Welcomes members from all over the world.

The Victorianist The Amateur Casual offers interesting facts and articles about Victorian England to bring his passion for Victoriana to us in the 21st century.

The Virtual Victorian Writer Essie Fox shares her wide knowledge of all things Victorian. Her novel The Somnambulist, set in Victorian London, will be published in May 2011.

8 Replies to “Social History/Genealogy”

  1. Thanks for your blog. I have found it personally useful and I’m recommending it on my blog Family History Writing ( with an “ancestor approved” award. You can use the image if you would like to and write your own list of 10 blogs you like as well as publish a list of 10 things that have humbled, enlightened or surprised you.

  2. I too,am related to the Hardiman family.Please contact me.My grandmother is the daughter of James Tallie Hardiman.We too have discovered metal illness and also some other horrible things. James Tallie put my grandmother up for adoption ad so everyone just forgot about her.Id love to share with a someone related to the hardiman fam. Thanks

      1. Hey my father and grandfathers side are hardimans from london etc contact pls as woud like to no if any relations

  3. Fascinating blog. I have been looking for a Debra Furneaux from the past and foung your site. History is addictive isn’t it? Keep at it and I will enjoy your journey. Doug MacLeod (MacLeod of MacLeod from Skye)

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