News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. Dutch influence on Norfolk dialect

    Our ancestors would most likely have spoken very differently from us today, particularly when many of us have moved far from our roots.  When looking at old records, such as parish registers or wills, it is always important to bear in mind spelling variants and words which may have been due to local dialect or accent.

    Searcher Liz Yule has Norfolk ancestors, and she has found the surname Reynolds written down in the parish register as “Rannells”, being a clear case of the clergyman writing down what he heard.

    With Norfolk dialect in particular, it is interesting to note the Dutch influence.  As a county very close to Holland, many incomers brought with them their own language, some words of which have stuck.  One example is “dwile” , referring to a cloth, and another being “push” meaning a boil or spot.

    So if an old document does not appear to make sense, investigate the local dialect further, and see if this helps with unusual words!

  2. There’s a little place called Sidestrand . . . .

    Whilst completing research on the history of the village of Sidestrand, on the North Norfolk coast, an interesting item emerged: a pocket book of poems and drawings, clearly written to a local girl, mainly from military personnel.  A military training camp was established in the village during the First World War, and many soldiers who were stationed there signed their names and left messages, drawings and poems for it’s owner, such as this charming composition:

    There’s a little place called Sidestrand
    Somewhere along the coast
    And to a girl I met there I wish to raise this toast
    May all her life be happy
    And her troubles be but few
    May she never forget her old friends
    When accompanied by her new

    The poem was signed J.Wood, of D Company, 27th King’s Liverpool Regiment, Sidestrand Camp.  When researching the identity of this J. Wood within surviving World War I service records and medal rolls, there were over 20 possible candidates.  If only he had recorded his service number in the notebook as well, or even his first name!

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