News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. Bank Holidays

    We are all now back at work after the New Year’s bank holiday (those of us who were lucky enough not to have to work them that is!). However, our ancestors did not enjoy the same break from work. It was not until 1974 that New Year’s day became a bank holiday in England. It had been recognised in Scotland since 1871.  Regarding set holidays more generally, before 1834 the Bank of England observed 33 saints’ days and religious festivals as holidays. In 1834 the number of bank holidays was set by the Bank of England at only four being May Day, 1st November (All Saints’ Day), Good Friday and Christmas Day.  In 1871 the first parliamentary legislation was introduced which made them official and it settled on Easter Monday, Whit Sunday, the first Monday in  August, and Boxing Day as official bank holidays. This was alongside Good Friday and Christmas Day which were common law holidays. In 1978 the first Monday in May in the rest of the UK, and the final Monday of May in Scotland was also included with the bank holidays.

  2. Happy new year

    As we celebrate this damp start to our new year, it would be fitting to remember the new year of a hundred and one years ago, when 1914 turned to 1915.  The famous Christmas truce in the trenches of WWI in 1914, actually extended to new year’s day 1915 in some parts of the trenches.

    In December 2014, a memorial was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum commemorating the famous Christmas day football match which took place in 1914.  The memorial is entitled “Football Remembers” and was designed by a Newcastle school boy after a nationwide competition.

  3. An ancestor called “New Year”?!

    Following on our festive names theme, our searchers have found the use of “New Year” as a forename exists from at least the seventeenth century.

    For example, New Year Carlile was baptised in Cumberland in 1690.  New Year Studlin married in Gosport, Hampshire, in 1746, whilst a New Year Maw lived in Yorkshire in the later eighteenth century.

    It was perhaps more common as a middle name in later years: John New Year Holley is just one doubly festive example, baptised in Norfolk in 1814.

    What festive names will you find in your family tree?

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