The theme for #52Ancestors this week is Help and once again I can’t think of an ancestor that fits this theme. But one of the greatest helps to me in my family history research that I have recently been using a lot is the British Newspapers on Findmypast.
In a previous blog I wrote about the newspaper reports about the Pilbeam siblings’s marriages and in another blog about the suicide of Ruth Sturt’s second husband. But that is not all I’ve found about my ancestors in newspapers.
In 1928 I have a report of a Sunday School Treat that was held at Rushford Farm by Mr Pilbeam who was the Superintendent. That would be George Charles Pilbeam, my great grandfather. It mentions all the helpers and the children who won the races including Girls Flat race (under 7’s) won by Joan Pilbeam, his daughter. The other children include some well known names from the area; Porter, Fox, Funnell and Cornford. This article helps to put my family into the wider context, possible other members of the Brethren Chapel they belonged to and who were their friends.
On 27 March 1855 in the Sussex Advertiser and Surrey Gazette there is a report of housebreaking in Warbleton in amongst reports from Constantinople and Balaclava and reports of what the royals were up to. This gives me a picture of what was going on in the world on this date. One Thomas Clout was taken before George Darby accused of breaking and entering the house of Jesse Oliver of Warbleton. He stole 7lbs cheese, 2 1/2 lbs butter, five loaves of bread and a pair of Cossack boots. Joseph Oliver his son was also interviewed. This Jesse is likely to be my great x4 great uncle and his son who were living at Rushlake Green. The boots produced at the hearing were identified as the ones in question by the pad made out of an old hat put in the bottom by Joseph who was the owner.
I also have a number of newspaper reports of poultry show winners which include the Oliver family;
17 November 1866, Shoreham Poultry Show. Joseph Oliver of Warbleton was commended for Ducks, class 24, for the best drake and duck of any age. Sussex Advertiser.
17 August 1867, Hastings and St Leonards Poultry Show. Joseph Oliver won highly commended and commended for White Aylesbury Ducks. Sussex Advertiser.
This is during a time when Warbleton was at the centre of a local Chicken Cramming industry and Jesse and Joseph were both Higlers on the 1861 census, so presumably involved in carrying the poultry to the station at Heathfield once they had collected them from the farms where they were fattened.
In the Sussex Advertiser on 15 September 1866 there is the report of an inquest held into the sad death of Stephen Oliver, son of Hannah Oliver. His death was caused by a fall over a hedge whilst in a state of intoxication. He had spent the previous afternoon at the Horse and Groom, Rushlake Green with a farmer, Thomas Hayward, and was known to him for 25 years. They were both a little drunk by the time they left the pub. They had gone back to Hayward’s house before Oliver eventually left for his own home, across the fields. The surgeon reported he found a slight mark on his forehead, he had fallen in a field on his way home in the dark. He was of the opinion he had died of concussion. Jury returned the verdict he died of concussion caused by a fall while intoxicated. The Coroner remarked that this sad affair might have been averted had the witness, Hayward seen him home instead of letting him go alone in the dark.
Just from those few examples I have learnt valuable information about my ancestors, their lives and the places they lived. I have a lot more families to search for so more research needed.