News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. A perfect gift for Christmas

    Are you stuck for a gift idea for a loved one this Christmas?  Someone who is hard to buy for, or seems to have everything? Well worry no more, for why give them a gift certificate to have their family history traced for Christmas.  This is a truly unique present, and one that they will remember forever.

    We provide a stylish A4 certificate that can be given on Christmas day, and we can then liaise with them in the New Year to find out their particular areas of interest to start the genealogical investigation.

    Contact us today to find out more about purchasing a gift certificate for family history research for Christmas.

  2. A “grass widow” in the 1911 census

    In genealogical research, occasionally absolute honesty is encountered within census returns.  It could be a woman living as a householder’s “housekeeper” together with their children for example, or other similar circumstances.

    In this 1911 census, one woman gave her marital status as “grass widow”.


    This was a term used when the husband was often absent, and has several different possible origins. A more modern interpretation could be that a hobby such as golf often separates a couple, although it could also derive from the 19th century when women in the British Raj were sent to cooler, mountainous regions.  An interpretation from earlier centuries is that a couple laid on the grass together, rather than a marital bed.

    Whatever the exact derivations, in this case the census enumerator has crossed through this term, and shown her to be officially married.

  3. Mother’s name on a marriage certificate

    Recent news items have highlighted the fact that mothers’ names do not appear on General Registration marriage certificates – on the the father of the bride and groom is given, together with his occupation.  Proposals to include mothers’ names have been met with positivity over the years, although as yet no change to the marriage certificate has been made.

    But what if our ancestors simply ignored the “father’s name” section, and included a mother’s name instead?  That seems to be the case with one marriage from 1872.  The bride, Mary Frances Billington, names her “father” as Mary Ann Billington.

    As with all genealogical research, often one piece of information leads to more questions. Had the bride’s father died, and she named her living parent?  Did she not know her father’s name, and simply gave the name of the parent whose name she did know? Was it a protest, and she felt her mother’s name should appear? Clearly further research is needed here!




November 2017
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