Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Sentimental Outing

One of my main family branches is the surname Flucker from the fishing village of Newhaven, Midlothian, which is now part of Edinburgh. 
Most of the men were fishermen and the women were the well known Newhaven Fishwives and I have traced some of them back to the 1600's.

From the late 1800's onwards, many of them began to emigrate or move to another part of the United Kingdom and I traced one of my Flucker lines to Manchester, England. I have been living near Manchester for about 10 years now and was very excited when I found the burial record online with the details of the cemetery and a map which showed me which area of the cemetery he was buried in.

William Henry Sheils Flucker,my 1st cousin twice removed, was born in 1898, Newhaven, Midlothian. He was the son of David and Margaret, his father being an iron moulder. It was about this time that I find many of them begin to leave the fishing industry. William married Margaret Cunningham Pheely in 1919 in Edinburgh and at the time of his marriage was down as a dock labourer. At some point after 1926 the family moved to Manchester and had at least 3 sons (maybe 4), the elder ones being born in Edinburgh and the youngest in Manchester. Margaret died in 1977 and William died in 1986, both in Manchester. I would love to learn more about William and his family and find out if he has any living relatives still living in my area. Would be lovely to find some distant cousins living nearby.

Today I bought some flowers and set off with my ever tolerant partner to the Southern Cemetery in Manchester. I didnt realise just how big the cemetery was until we got there, but plan in hand we eventually found the area the burial records had mentioned. The area was very large and there must have been at least 200-300 graves in that one area. My partners face dropped as he realised his quick trip out was about to turn into a major operation with rows and rows of graves to check, ( he is very good about my addiction to family history, but grave searching is not something he really enjoys!) As we stood on the path looking at the mass of graves in front of us, I glanced down at my feet and couldn't believe my eyes, the grave right next to the path we were standing on was William and Margarets!

The grave looked very unkempt, no recent flowers, just some plastic ones that had obviously been there a long time and I wish I had had the fore thought to bring something to clean the head stone. We found some water and just used our hands to clean off the worst of the lichen etc from the lettering, then left some fresh flowers. The headstone mentions children and grandchildren but guess they may have moved away from the Manchester area and are not able to get to the cemetery very often. I plan on going back in the near future to tidy it up properly and lay more flowers and hope that one day maybe one of their grandchildren will stop by and be glad that someone has been looking after their grandparents grave. 

William Henry Sheils Flucker and his wife Margaret's grave after trying to clean the lettering.
Some fresh flowers for William and Margaret

Rest in Peace William and Margaret xxx

Friday, 2 November 2012

Back to writing

Well it has been a while since I wrote on here but will try to visit more often in future.

I have been busy doing more research on my tree and helping some close friends to find out more about theirs. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you see someone get all excited about some information you have found for them!

I have also started volunteering at the Local and Family History Help Desk in the library and am thoroughly enjoying that. Now if they would only pay me for it, it would be my ideal job! I help out with Family History Workshops, which are designed for beginners who want some help to begin their research and again, its rewarding to see them gain interest as they go and the thrill they get when they find some information on an ancestor. I have been doing my own research for many years now and forget just how quickly it got addicting. People seem to really enjoy the workshops and come back at later dates to use the resources we have shown them. It is also great being able to refer to original documents and newspapers etc...none of my ancestors come from this area so I am limited in how often I can travel and use these for my own research. 

I has been fascinating to learn more about the history of my local area and I could spend hours reading some of the many books they have in their collection. It has made me think more about doing a course I saw on Local History and has rekindled my enthusiasm for history in general, as well as my own.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Great Great Grandfather

This is a photo of my Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Rutherford,(1843-1900). He was a fisherman and came from the fishing village of Newhaven, Edinburgh. Not sure what the hat is he has in his hand, just wondering if he had his own boat and it was a skippers hat.

Friday, 22 April 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you Jacqueline at My Journey Back for giving me this blog award. I have not been doing my family history blog for long and feel very honoured to have been presented it.
Accepting this award comes with some conditions and you get the pleasure of reading some new blogs.

The rules of acceptance are :

1. Accept the award; post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here are the blogs I have chosen, I have not been blogging that long and many I follow already have award, so not quite 15.

Thanks to all who take the time to read my blog.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Great Great Grandmother

Wilhelmina Rutherford nee Linton
I love this photo of my GG Grandmother. Wilhelmina Linton was born 1843, in the fishing village of Newhaven, Edinburgh. She married Alexander Rutherford in 1865 and they had 4 children. Alexander was a fisherman so Wilhelmina led the life of a fishwife, a hard life and the women were known to be sturdy and hard working. I think you can see this in the strong features of her face in this photo.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Never Be Afraid to Ask

One thing I have learned over the years doing my research, is that it never hurts to ask. If you think someone may be able to help you, or have some information, there is no harm in getting in contact..the worst that can happen is you get no reply.

One such instance was when I was looking for information about a photo of my Great Great Uncle Alexander (Sandy) Rutherford. Sandy, was born in 1873 in the fishing village of Newhaven, Edinburgh, and I can remember going to visit him with my gran, when I was a little girl. I just have vague memories of him, but still remember the anchor in the street near where he lived, its strange what you remember from when you are small. 
He was a fisherman and according to family members was skipper of a boat called "The Whitestar" and there was a photo of him with his boat in the Newhaven Heritage Museum. By this time I was living in England and looked forward to paying it a visit when I went home to visit family. However, much to my disappointment, I discovered it was closed for refurbishment and it was then decided it would not re-open.

I thought that was the end of it, but decided to have a go at emailing a contact for the council I found on the internet and a lovely woman called Victoria, took the time to reply to me. She could not find the photo I had mentioned, but did find 2 other pictures of Sandy and was kind enough to email them to me.

Alexander Rutherford, 2nd from right, Front Row.
The photo above is one of these (left click on image for full size). It was taken in 1951 and is of the members of the Newhaven Fisherman's Society, something a lot of my ancestors were members of.

Sandy lived to the ripe old age of 96. He was found lying in the yard at the back of the tenement he lived in and had died from serious head injuries after falling from his window. It is thought he was feeding the birds when he lost his balance and fell. It is a very sad ending for a life that was lived to the full (that story is for another time).

Sandy , how I remember him, at the age of 94

So the next time you think someone maybe able to help in your quest for information, don't hesitate, you never know what you will find.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Ancestors brought to life.

It is now 11 years since my journey into researching my family history began, and when I started I had no idea just how addicting it would become. I started off with a few names and dates jotted down, from family members, and now 11 years on those few names have turned into nearly 3000!

It wasn't long before I realised that the most important part of my journey, was not the names and dates, the who married who etc, but finding out about "who they were", what their occupations entailed, their living conditions and the gathering of as much information as possible to get a glimpse into what their lives were really like.

One example of this is when a lovely man, called Terry, got in touch with me via a message board, asking if I was Tommy Flucker's grandaughter. Tommy (Thomas), was my grandfather, born in 1904, in a fishing village called Newhaven, which is now part of Edinburgh. He was a joiner in Henry Robb Shipyards in Leith and had met my grandmother while working for a short while in the Vickers shipyards in Barrow-in-Furness, before moving back home with his new wife and having a family of his own.
Newhaven Harbour today

I don't have many memories of him as he died when I was 7. He suffered a brain haemorrhage at work and never regained consciousness. I remember him as a very quiet man and can
still picture him sitting in his chair, wearing one of the many jumpers my gran used to knit for him.

After confirming I was indeed Tommy's granddaughter he sent me a lovely email, which brought my grandfather to life and am so grateful for him taking the time to do this.

Here is part of the email:

Thanks for your prompt reply, I'm delighted to hear that you are indeed
the grandaughter of Tommy, and you've confirmed and awakened many
youthful memories.
As I said, I worked as an apprentice joiner in Robb's from 1948 to 1955,
then, like everyone else was called up for National Service in the
army.  I returned to Robb's for a short while after serving three years
with the Royal Engineers, then my life took a different turn, and I
moved on.
I was a rather " Favoured" apprentice, and worked on the top floor of
the joiner's shop, I was on the bench next to Tommy.  His job at that
time was to "Break out" all the wooden mouldings for the ships under
construction, and prepare them for the French polishers.  Tommy was very
precise in everything he did, and was always on top of his job.  He was
much respected as a tradesman in a shop of over 200 joiners, who, in my
opinion, were the best tradesmen in the country.  He was known as a man
of great general knowledge, and I suspect, thought of as slightly
eccentric.  He had a very fiery temper, and could be "Wound up," if
people voiced opinions contrary to his firmly held views on everything,
particularly on the subject of his beloved Hearts.  I was on of the
"Infidels," being a Hibs supporter, but Tommy obviously made allowances
for this aberration, and took me under his wing.  At lunch times, having
our "pieces" together, and our drum (old jam tins) of Tea, Tommy would
teach me many things beyond the everyday world of a daft young laddie.
As I've said he taught me Chess, which I've enjoyed ever since.  He
could, you know, "Talk" a game of Chess, and did so with his brother in
law, (I think) without a board or pieces,, and they'd both continue the
game entirely in their heads !  He knew all about steam locomotives,
politics, and a wide range of subjects, that filled out my then empty
head.  Cycling was of course one of his great loves, touring mainly, not
racing, and it was very popular at that time, everyone had bikes and
enjoyed it.  He was so kind to me, that once he offered to cycle with me
to Ibrox in Glasgow to see Hibs play Rangers in a League decider, we
went on his Tandem, I had to bring my own saddle he said, otherwise I'd
have a sore bum ! I can remember that day vividly, Hibs won !

As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, Tommy would work mainly
on time transits of the stars, at the old Royal Observatory on the
Calton hill.  I remember him making a "Black box" to measure these
transits, and claiming that the time accuracy was six hundredths of a
Tommy was very proud of his "Bow Tow," heritage, claiming that the
Fluckers came over with the Huguenots to escape persecution, and was
very well versed in history generally.  He was a good man, very handsome
in a clean cut way, and proud and protective of his daughters.  I lived
then in Newhaven Road, but my cousins the Jeffrey's, lived in 10
Hawthornvale, my uncle Peter Jeffrey was a riveter in Robbs, so as a lad
I was down the Vale regularly.
In those days (the 50's) the workers in the Yard were very highly
politicised, rationing was still in force, but we'd made advancements in
obtaining a free health service, we then got a weeks holiday in the
Summer, with pay, the working week was to be reduced from 48 hours, and
it looked to Socialists as if the workers were going to influence
politics for the good.  We were all Socialists (at least) many of us
Communists, and we sympathised with the experiments in Socialism started
in Russia and China. Tommy actually taught me the words of "The Red
Flag," the old Old Independent Labour Party anthem, including the bawdy
parody ! Relations with the shipyard management were never good, indeed
constantly fraught with tension, and fear of losing jobs, they all
remembered the Depression years vividly.  We weren't even allowed
teabreaks, (but we had them illegally!) you could be dismissed for
drinking tea, other than at dinner time, the tea urns were kept
padlocked until the hooter sounded.  Even going to the toilet was under
surveillance, you had to drop your works check at a turnstile at the
entrance to a very smelly and basic lavatory, and if you were over 7
minutes there, you were docked a quarter of an hour of pay. As an
apprentice, your time record was kept for the five years, and any late
time or absences were made up at the end of the five years, at
apprentice's pay, not Tradesman's pay.
Something else has just come to mind, I think Tommy was one of the First
of the Fluckers NOT to have gone to sea and the fishing, that must have
been a big decision in Newhaven in those days.

After reading this email, I remembered seeing a whole shelf of log books at my grandmothers, where Tommy had logged every single one of his bike rides with meticulous care. I couldn't believe my luck when my aunt told me she still had these and sent me a scan of the page with the entry for the bike ride that is mentioned in the email.If you click on the picture below you can see it full size. 

Cycle ride 1950
I am in awe of how he could play a game of chess in his head! Would love to know more about his time as a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, so if anyone has any ideas how to go about this please let me know.