Update History


A trip to Scotland showed me how little I knew of Scottish history, and led to several months work preparing Kindle versions of a 19th century 7 volume History of Scotland by Patrick Fraser Tyler. Vols 2-5 are now available on Amazon, with the remaining volumes to follow. I've also been feeding my interest in the Renaissance (sparked by Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles) by publishing other history and poetry books for Kindle.

I haven't abandoned the genealogy, though. This update includes newspaper transcriptions from 1844, and a change to the internal structure which has enabled me to show children born out of wedlock under the names of the putative fathers (previously you could find the father by looking under the mother or the child's name, not the other way round). This may lead to some unexpected discoveries for the "legitimate" descendants of those men.
11th August 2013

25th March 2013
You can now find over 700 newspaper transcriptions connected to Desborough on the site. I have added an index so that you can browse by date.

Many of the articles relate to property auctions; these may seem uninteresting at first, but they often give the names of tenants enabling an ancestor to be located prior to or between censuses. As auctions often take place at pubs I've trawled these for the names of pub landlords.

Some of the reports are intriguing but, as yet, the final outcome has not been discovered - like the attempted poisoning of a whole family; some are sad - like the death of Charles Allen; some are bizarre - like the "curious epistle" that was copied by a number of newspapers in and out of Northamptonshire.

I've tried to identify the Desborough folk who appear in these articles, but do bear in mind that these are often just a "best guess" based on the totality of information I have to hand at that point. Remember also that newspapers sometimes contain misprints and errors, so names and dates may not be totally accurate.

Desborough study people: 17392

20th January 2013
Lots more newspaper transcriptions have been added: inquest reports and accidents listed under general news show what life was like pre "Health & Safety". General news also includes wedding reports, job-seeking, retirements, and the bad state of the roads. Many new reports have been transcribed for the crime and civil action section. In 1903 Thomas Flude Thomas Yeomans, and George Summerley were described as "bad characters", with Yeomans described as "the worst man in Desborough".

Desborough study people: 17272

7th January 2013
This first update of 2013 contains more Desborough related family notices together with the first transcriptions of Desborough crime and civil action reports. The personal records of individuals identified in any of these reports will show a link to the transcription.

It's important to keep an open mind on your family history discoveries. There seemed to be only one Frederick Summerly who could be the spouse of Elizabeth Marlow, but information from Robert Page showed this man had married a Carrie Smith instead. I was left short one Frederick Charles Summerly. Not finding one in the 1881/1891 censuses I looked for a Frederick Charles of the right age, but a different surname. I found Frederick Charles Panter in those censuses, but not subsequently. Frederick's mother's maiden name was Summerly and it emerged that he was born prior to her marriage and his birth was registered as Frederick Charles Summerly, though his baptism was under the name  Frederick Charles Summerly Panter. After 1891 he reverted to his legal name, under which name he married Elizabeth Marlow. The moral of the tale ... keep checking!

Desborough study people: 17170

14th December 2012
More than 120 new family notices have been added, and, thanks to Angela White, a confusion between two Eliza Robinsons has been unscrambled.

27th November 2012
The recent publication of British Newspapers on http://www.findmypast.co.uk has made accessible a treasure-chest of information. A simple search for Desborough and Northamptonshire produces over 6600 records. Filtering the results on Article Type = Family Notice gives over 250 records.

I have transcribed and indexed the first 100 family notices. There are a few people I've not yet been able to indentify, but the majority have been linked to the key records that you find through the surnames index.

The family notices have enabled me to identify some more wives that were previously "Unknown", and in one case the Christian name of a husband together with the maiden name of his spouse. In trying to found out a little more about the former, John Booth, of Glendon Hall, I came across his advertisements canvassing for the office of Verderer of Rockingham Forest in 1826 and 1829.

17th September 2012
I'm currently working on transcribing railway employment records for both the Family and Desborough parts of the site.

There is a lot to be gleaned from these records: location between censuses; salary; physical description; accidents to staff and to members of the public.

A tragic story that came to light was the accidental death of Mrs C Palmer and her 5 year old son Dixon. Some detective work, aided by the unusual Christian name of the boy enabled me to identify the lady as Elizabeth, the sister of Jane Palmer, wife of the Manager of the Desborough Gas Company. The sisters had married brothers Charles and Dixon Palmer. It looks as if Elizabeth had brought her youngest child to visit her sister when the accident occurred ...

A few more Desborough people have been identified through the employment records and census records added/updated as a result.

24th July 2012
This update has been a long time coming because I wanted to complete the redesign of the "Family" section of the site.

The original format did not include census transcriptions so this has meant a great deal of work on the censuses. It's proved invaluable, enabling me to check and in some cases correct deductions about relationships that were formed from working with microfiche in the days before online genealogical resources.

A large number of baptism, marriage and death certificates have been added to the family tree, and the original 'in depth' articles have been re-written in the light of further information. In particular, see the article about Frank Henry Catley, one of whose descendants contacted me with some family anecdotes and prompted me to carry out further research and modify my conclusions about him.

I have continued to work on the Desborough Study from time to time, and added a further 150 individuals, bringing the total up to 17037.

16th January 2012
At last an update! I have been working on the site, but, for various reasons, less intensively than usual.

The updates cover many aspects of the site - the family tree, as well as the Desborough study. These include more soldiers records; birth, baptism, marriage and death certificates; and more census information. Over 100 individuals have been added to the Desborough Study.

There is a new option on the display of people with a specified surname. This shows marital state, age and occupation from all censuses for everyone with the same first and surname - eg: select surname Kilborn, and enter George as the first name to see this ...

A new entry in the Desborough Stories tells of the execution of two Desborough men for stealing thirty shillings worth of meat. It includes David Coe's last letter to his parents. Thanks to Anita for sending me this story.

Since publishing the genealogy of Joseph Marlow, I have published several other Kindle books. One of these was originally published in 1785 by Bishop Thomas Percy, husband of Anne Gutteridge.

6th September 2011
Nearly 500 new individuals have been added to the Desborough database. Many of these have 1911 census entries transcribed. The detail available in this census has enabled me to identify a number of extra families from the 1901 census.

Quite a few new soldiers records have been transcribed in full.

A sad story emerged from a combination of military and census records. Arthur John Sturgess, a soldier but in a civil prison in 1901 was discharged as "Incorrigible. Worthless". He married and had 6 children, but by 1911 he was again in prison. This presumably was the reason his wife and two youngest children were in the Workhouse, and his two older boys were in a Cottage Home.

14th March 2011
The rewrite of the Family Tree is continuing. A number of news reports concerning the Belfour family have been added. 178 birth, baptism, marriage and death records have been transcribed together with more than 40 probate records.

In the Desborough Study the new Events section includes a report of an Earthquake in 1750.

Can't remember the difference between second cousins and first cousins once removed? Neither could I, so I've given it a write-up here.

If you are new to family research you may find these tips for searching the census helpful.

6th February 2011
A major rewrite of the Family Tree has begun, to bring it up to the standard of the Desborough Study. There is still a lot of census data to be added but as the new version contains quite a few updates (particularly marriage and baptism certificates) both versions will be available until all the data from the old has been incorporated in the new

22nd January 2011
More extracts from the Probate Calendar have been added enabling more couples to be linked up and more Desborians to be 'killed off'.

I've added quite a number of non-Desborough census records and found a way of incorporating non-census address and occupation records so that they interfile with the census displays.

31st December 2010
This month I've added a dozen filiation orders and indemnity bonds, with more settlement and removal orders. A particularly shocking example of the latter is the carting of a soldier's family from Bury St Edmunds to Desborough.

8th December 2010
I'm continuing to add Settlement Certificates and fill in non-Desborough census, and baptism and marriage records, adding another 300 individuals

"Removal Orders" are proving a real eye-opener. John Cooper's family had been living in Desborough for 46 years when he, his wife and children were ordered to be removed to Braybrook.

9th November 2010
More Settlement Certificates have been entered. Look at William Kidney and his son David to see how members of the same family can have "Legal Settlement" in different places and neither of them the places where they were born.

25th October 2010
A number of Settlement Certificates have been added to the site. More baptism and marriage records have been added, from the turn of the 17th-18th centuries, adding another 140 people.

29th September 2010
The menu has undergone a major revision.

380 more Desborians have been added, mostly from early parish records. There is a new area of photographs of gravestones from Desborough's neighbours, starting with the churchyards of Holy Trinity Rothwell and St Botolph Stoke Albany.

22nd August 2010
Another 200 Desborough people have been added. A new list of Extracts from the probate calendar give dates of death, values of estates and links to executors.

14th August 2010
450 individuals have been added, mostly from the parish baptism and burial records between 1580 and 1600, including a man said to have been 120 years old! Have a look at other curiosities from the parish registers.

Many non-Desborough census records have been added for some-time residents, and a lot of people have been 'killed-off'.

19th July 2010
Transcriptions from the P.O. Directories for Desborough (1847, '54, '69) and Rothwell ('47, '54). Enjoy a wonderful misprint ...

15th July 2010
More soldiers records, marriage records, wills, photographs from Desborough Cemetery, plus some news reports of a Desborough Centenarian, Bertha Arnold, nee Marlow.

19th June 2010
A variety of updates including some transcriptions of soldiers records, marriage records, 16th century baptisms, and a will; and more photographs of MIs from Desborough Cemetery.

I've finally smashed a brick wall that has been bugging me - the identity of one Frederick Nursey, born 1858 at Desborough, who was in a military prison in 1881.

28 May 2010
All the photographs I have of legible gravestones from St Giles have been uploaded. A few more might be retrieved by re-photographing.

Work continues on adding non-Desborough census info. Best transcription error found on Ancestry was for John Goode whose occupation  was given as "Beast Shoemaker". When I looked at the image, it proved to be "Mastr Shoemaker". John's future wife's occupation at the same school was transcribed as "Batron". Have a guess ...?

9th May 2010
A case of murder ... read all about it!

18th April 2010
Many thanks to Jean Buswell who has been sharing some of her research on Desborough people together with photographs of memorials from churchyards outside Desborough. Check out her detective work on an elusive ancestor, John Letts.

Another 240 people have been added to the Desborough database, including some parish records from the late 16th century.

5th March 2010
Desborough Bishop's Transcripts 1707-1812 have now been completed. Permit me a small Yippee! - it's been a long haul ...

16th February 2010
Census information for years when individuals were not in Desborough is being rewritten and enhanced to match the data from the Desborough censuses. For those individuals where it has been completed you'll be able to see the full household details for all available censuses on a single page. Taking the information away from the 'vitals' page is also making that display much clearer

More photographs of headstones and more individuals from Bishop's Transcripts added.

29th January 2010
Jubilee Souvenir of the Desborough Industrial & Provident Co-operative Society Ltd, 1863-1913.

28th January 2010 
Nearly 950 more individuals have been added to the Desborough database, taking Bishop's Transcripts up to March 1794. The older records are starting to link up to the census information.

More photographs of headstones from both St Giles and the town cemeteries have been added.

29th December 2009
Another 332 individuals have been added from Desborough's Bishop's Transcripts, up to March 1765.

Some of the existing photographs of headstones from St Giles' churchyard have been replaced and some more have been added, bringing the total up to 121.

30th November 2009
Nearly 1000 more individuals have been added from the Bishop's Transcripts for Desborough, up to the mid 1750s. There is a growing number of individuals, alive at the same period, with identical first and last names who are proving difficult to distinguish when linking children and parents. As further information is found this may mean some existing family links will change in the future.

Some photographs have been added of memorials from inside the church and from the town cemetery.

5th October 2009
I've started adding records from the Bishop's Transcripts for Desborough. The file I'm working on runs from 1707 to 1812, but I've only reached 1717 so far. This has added another 300 odd individuals to the database. You can review the entries extracted from Bishop's Transcript to date.  

29th August 2009
You can now display lists of the entries extracted to date from the Parish Registers so you can check coverage, as well as retrieving details by name searches.

I'm taking a break from the Great War and adding more information from the 17th century parish records. This has added nearly 400 people to the Desborough database

12th August 2009
155 WWI soldiers have now been identified, including 3 who were POWs. Some touching stories are emerging, see Frank Crick and the letter sent by his wife; and the accidental death of Reuben Horsley

2nd July 2009
The Desborough census pages have all been revised to load more quickly.

There are two new Desborough menu items: Forenames (an index of first names, including the date of first known use) and Health & Welfare. The latter has indexes for disabled individuals and for twins.

20th June 2009
The final section of the 1901 census has been transcribed: District 6.

10th June 2009
The second section of the 1901 Desborough census has been transcribed: District 5.

20th April 2009
The "Armed Forces" section in the Desborough Study has now been extended and lists all soldiers who have been indentified so far. Links lead, in some cases, to their full military records.

The 'Regiments' link, under 'Armed Forces' enables you to see which other Desborough soldiers served in the same regiment during World War 1.

10th February 2009
The Desborough Study has a new menu item: "Armed Forces" giving details of some of the Desborough men who lost their lives in World War I.

The Desborough surnames index has been rewritten to load more quickly and to enable individuals with all variants of a name to be displayed together.

A new display option has been added to the individual's page, so that you can show just names and vital dates.

27th January 2009
The Desborough Study link takes you to a detailed menu, and there are 2 new sections: 'Other Transcriptions' (Wills, Military Records, and extracts from books and journals), and 'Non-Conformists' (non-Church of England members).

The 'Parish Church' section now has brief biographies of most of the Vicars of St Giles.

'Historical Notes' has been renamed 'History & Glossary'. The Glossary includes some less familiar terms found in the Wills. Under 'History' you will also find a page about 'Enclosures'.

12th December 2009
A visit to Desborough has produced nearly 90 photos & transcriptions of memorials.  You can browse the collection from the "Parish Church" link on the menu. There are also links on descendant trees.

In the Family Tree section the index of Individuals has been re-written after the pattern used in the Desborough Study. I hope this will prove easier to use.

12th September 2008
Desborough Study: All but the most obscure individuals in the Desborough censuses have now been indentified, adding nearly 1000 individuals to the study. As the study is now so big all of the pages have been moved into a single directory. Please update any bookmarks you have made.

7th July 2008
Desborough Study: People's locations when they were not present in Desborough are now starting to be added - see, for example, information about John Tailby and his family

15th June 2008
Some World War II army photos have been added to the Portrait Gallery. You may find a photo of your father or grandfather here.

1st May 2008
Desborough Study: Additional links have been added to the navigation bar to make it easier to move about in the Desborough Study, and the index pages within the study have had A-Z shortcuts introduced to improve navigation.

5th January 2008
Desborough Study: Work continues on the census transcriptions, with links being added to enable you to see all that's available for an individual. It's also being enhanced with information from other sources. 

18th November 2007

A new section has been added: Historical Notes, giving background information on various topics, such as British coinage, lace making and weaving, and various types of school - 'British', 'National' and 'Board'.

15th November 2007
I've been following up the Coe and Panter families of Desborough, over the last week or two. I knew of more than one marriage between these two families, and I wanted to get a more complete picture. I've now found over 200 Coes and 100 Panters, and still more to come!

26th October 2007
More Kirtley information has been added. Sadly, I discovered that I was adding the same wife and family to two different Henry Kirtleys - both born in Tanfield, within 2 years!  I'm waiting for the marriage certificate to sort this one out.

9th October 2007
I've added more Kirtleys to the tree - yet more railway workers among them, plus one "oddity" - a single child in a family of Londoners, who was born in Australia: Louis.

The Places index has been modified to make it faster.

1st October 2007
A contact from Australia has diverted me from the Howletts to the Kirtleys - a fascinating family, deeply involved with the development of the Railways. A detailed write-up is coming soon, meanwhile have a look at the most famous son: Matthew Kirtley

25th September 2007
Check out the new transcriptions of obituaries

10th September 2007
There are some more Howletts and more information on the existing Howletts, plus some photographs from Meppershall Church where John Henry Howlett was Rector for 51 Years.

5th September 2007
Two more certificates have been added, one of which has added to the puzzle of Sarah, the "nurse child".

The family tree now includes several generations of Howletts, a connection by marriage of the Brattle family.

27th August 2007
The site continues to grow, but more importantly, the "details" page for each person has been extensively changed to include more family information and make it easier to follow.

11th August 2007
Two more pages have been added to the Portrait Gallery, and the Dunford Family information has been updated.

5 August 2007
The Dunford Family - Business and Bankruptcy. Some ups and downs of business in the 19th century.

21 July 2007
Several more BMD certificates have been transcribed, bringing the total on the site to 74. Links have now been added to all identified names on the transcriptions.

10 June 2007
Transcribed service records for Ernest Brattle, covering his service at the North West Frontier, South Africa and WWI