News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. The heat of a medieval building

    Soaring temperatures in Kent this week have left staff here at Achievements a bit hot!  The temperature in the care this morning read 20 degrees, and it was not even 8 am.  However, the advantages of working in a medieval building have really come into their own.  Whilst our headquarters has a Georgian frontage, the main section of  the building dates from the 13th century, and is timber frame, with the walls made from wattle and daub.

    As such, it is a very good place to be in extreme heat, and the building remains cool.  This is definitely an advantage this week, but come winter, it is difficult to effectively heat such a large, old building!

  2. Awards Day 2016

    All of us here at the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and Achievements are looking forward to this Saturday, and celebrating the achievements of our students at Awards Day.  Students have studied an intensive programme of family history to pass various exams, and this is their well-deserved recognition.

    The weather forecast remains humid, with possible showers, so lets keep our fingers crossed it remains dry for the afternoon!

  3. Summer starts here

    Today marks the official first day of summer, and the longest day of the year.  Canterbury has seen heavy rain and lovely sunshine over the last 24 hours, and hopefully the weather will settle down!

    The summer solstice, this year taking place on 20th June, refers to the sun reaching it’s highest point in the sky at noon (as opposed to the winter solstice, when it is at its lowest).  The word solstice itself comes from the Latin words for sun sol and to stand still, being sistere.  Thus at the solstice the sun appears to stand still, before going in the opposite direction.

  4. Born during a thunderstorm?

    The theme of the week has been forenames representing weather events, and today’s focus is on the name Storm.  The first instance of Storm as a forename in General Registration, which began in July 1837, is the marriage of a Storm Beard in 1839 in Bath.  Storm is a British surname, so it is possible that he was named after a maternal surname in his family tree.  Alternatively, he may simply have been born during some memorable weather!

    This seems to be the case for Stormy Thompson who was born in Sunderland in 1851, and who died just a year later.  Perhaps the most interesting name found during this search is Stormy Petrel Hodgson, born in 1887 in Poplar.  Whilst this child was born in London, perhaps it’s parents had an affinity with marine life as well as the weather!

    Storm is more usually found as a surname, and intriguingly the first Storm entry in General Registration is the death of one Christmas Storm in 1837 in Yorkshire.  What a name combination!

  5. It’s snowing in Canterbury today!

    Today is the 26th April.  Next week it is May. And yet East Kent (and much of the rest of the East coast) is on its second snow shower of the day.

    Unusual and freak weather is always a topic of conversation, and this was no different for our ancestors.  Without social media outlets to discuss and share pictures and information, other ways were found to record odd weather or other natural events.  One of these was the parish register, where the local incumbent sometimes included events of local importance, such as a freak storm, snow in the warmer months, or a devastating flood.

    As genealogists and historians, look out for such information.  It might be that death occurred seemingly as a result of such an event, or a marriage or baptism took place during a period of intense heat, or a severe winter.  Such information records in parish registers can add to the context of our ancestors lives!

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