Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Get Around Much Anymore

For a change today, Amy and I took our morning walk in Elland. By chance we passed the Elland War Memorial - still clad in poppy tributes - and stopped to have a look. I didn't count the names of those who fell in the Great War, but there were many. What I did notice were a number of familiar names.
Over recent days I have been re-entering much of the information  on our family history having changed software programmes (am I alone in finding Family Tree Maker annoying?) Having decided to try Family Historian, I could - I assume - have simply reloaded the information files from my old copy of FTM, but I decided it would be useful to take the opportunity of tidying the material up. The bit of the family I was involved with last night was Isobel's father (Raymond Holroyd Berry) his father (Kaye Holroyd Berry) and his mother, Sarah Ann Shaw. All three lived all their lives in Elland.
As anyone who has searched through census records for their ancestors will know, you often get a false feeling of success when you identify someone with the name you are looking for listed as living in the village you are looking at. What you tend to forget is that until comparatively recently, people really did not move around at all. When I first saw the list of names on the War Memorial and spotted two Berrys, three Shaws, and four Holroyds, I had visions of endless lines of Isobel's relatives lying dead in the muddy trenches of Northern France. And no doubt these are relatives, but not necessarily close ones.
I will need to do some more digging to try and tie these war dead into the immediate family, but with more and more resources becoming available on-line, that will be an interesting task.
A little later on our walk, we passed Workhouse Lane in West Vale. Street names rarely lie and sure enough we came across a building that could only have been a Workhouse. Again, I need to do a lot more digging to identify the history of this sad building and its inmates. When I eventually find those lists will I again be met with Berrys, Shaws and Holroyds?

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