Our Family History Website

For the Burgess and Taylor Families

 

I started this website so that I could keep my three sons informed about my family history research while two of them were working abroad. Now that Google appears to have found the site and an unsuspecting visitor from beyond the usual handful of relatives may stumble across a page, perhaps I ought to explain my intentions. From the beginning I wanted to concentrate on the stories behind the names and dates; I included a family tree more to provide a structure for the narrative than as an end in itself.

I have begun to worry about the absence of references to sources, as seen on the best "proper" family history sites. Although I have them filed away at home, they are not evident on the website where I feel they would distract from my purpose. I have made a start on rectifying this omission by providing links to pages of citations for the vital records that are included on pedigree charts. Elsewhere, if dates and relationships are listed without a source then the information comes from parish registers, BMD certificates and census pages. The few that still depend on transcripts are slowly being confirmed as time and opportunity arise.

Other sources are usually specified within the text of the page: wills, newspapers, books, Poor Law records, letters, and so on. For me, the very existence of a source is surprising enough to make it worth recording as part of the family story. I still find it amazing that the master of a Leith smack in 1822 should be identified in a letter to Sir Walter Scott from his publisher in London (see John Johnston page); or that a servant to a headmaster in 1841 should be recalled, with illustrations, in books written by Old Etonians (see Henry Finmore page).

So, please use the contact email address if you want to question a source and I will provide the information, or own up to a transcript. Similarly, please contact me if you notice any errors, whether genealogical or historical; I try to check everything, but I'm not a historian.

Click here to enter the site

Latest additions:

 

Sometimes it is difficult to decide when there is enough evidence to justify giving names to the next generation back from an ancestor. Judge for yourselves whether, beyond reasonable doubt, the revelations on the new page Grace Parmiter's origins have sufficient support yet. If so, then her tree has gained both parents and two grandparents plus two occupations through the discovery of two documents at the Dorset History Centre. Quite a result for the 18th Century.

Citations for the sources mentioned above have been added to the page of citations accessible via the link below the family tree on the Dorset Burgesses page.

There are now also citations for the Burgess family with origins in Cambridgeshire and Berkshire via the link below the family trees on the Cambridgeshire Burgesses page. Some of the sources are very reliable transcriptions from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society and the citations indicate this and also include references to the relevant Parish Registers at the Cambridgeshire Archives.

Keeping up with the 75th anniversary of Jim Taylor's wartime letters there is another page of extracts covering September 1942, when he was out of the immediate war zone and enjoying a mixture of leave, comparative rest and training. Alongside complaints about the life, he reports on sports events and wartime humour. He also writes at length about his thoughts and feelings, responding to Pip's concerns and queries in her most recent letter.

Updated 28 September 2017

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I have added a photograph of a very respectable couple to the page for James Joseph Hely. It has been confirmed by my cousin Nigel that they are James Joseph and his wife Tamson Hely, née Deane. On the back is written "E Burghess", and "61 Sunray Av Herne Hill", the address of Elizabeth Burgess, daughter of the couple. The formal nature of the photo suggests it marked an important shared event, either their 40th or 50th wedding anniversary. The choice is between 1901 and 1911. Judging by their clothing, which is more likely? Do they look to be aged 62 and 66 or 72 and 76?

Updated 13 August 2017

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After the Battle of Gazala Jim Taylor was sent on leave, I believe to Cairo, and wrote home from there while enjoying more comfortable surroundings than he was used to. Some of his observations and experiences are transcribed on the latest page of his letters sent during July and August 1942.

Updated 7 August 2017

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There are some more extracts from Jim Taylor's letters to read. They cover the period of the Battle of Gazala when Rommel drove the Allied forces back into Egypt and captured Tobruk.

I have now added a new index page for all the letters pages, so it is easier to find a particular set of extracts.

Updated 26 June 2017

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Jim Taylor's thoughts from the Western Desert 75 years ago are now available on a new page of letter extracts from April 1942. He begins in a decidedly pensive mood but cheers up to pen some rather dubious poetry.

An 1827 crime report in a newspaper and Mary Griffin's Will from 1790 help to explain the links between the Finmore and Griffin families and the parish of St Martin in the Fields. They may be seen on the page for George Finmore.

Updated 15 April 2017

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There is now another page of extracts from Jim Taylor's letters sent 75 years ago almost to the day, during March 1942, from the Western Desert back to Pip in Liverpool. In amongst his descriptions of the weather, the state of his lorry and what he thought of tanks is an example of the censor at work, removing what Jim must have thought was a fairly innocuous comment.

Updated 19 March 2017

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I have added a page of source citations for the Hely family with a link below the pedigree chart for Elizabeth Lucy Hely and another page of sources for the Newbury family with a link below the chart for Jane Newbury. There are even citations for some dates not yet added to the trees as shown.

Likewise there are a few additional sources for the Hilditch family but again the pedigree chart still has to be updated.

There is a small addition to the Taylor Transport page, including a suggestion that one of the cars might be a Singer. Perhaps an enthusiast may be able to help.

Naturalisation records for David Dickson have provided further information about his life in the USA, some confirming and some contradicting what was previously believed. His family doesn't seem to consider accuracy to be priority when completing forms.

Updated 6 March 2017

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Another page of source citations is now available, this one for the Burgesses with connections to Dorset. The link is below the pedigree chart for Henry James Burgess.

Updated 25 July 2016

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I have added to the Dickson family page the contents of a handwritten list of vital records probably written out by Mary Dickson from Downpatrick. They include the birth dates for her parents in 1845 which would have been difficult to find elsewhere, and births and marriages for her siblings.

There are now pages of sources accessible from links just below each of the great-grandparent pedigree charts for David Taylor, Mary Dickson, Thomas Hilditch and Elizabeth Lawrence, listing citations for vital records given on the trees. In time I will complete similar pages for the remaining pedigree charts.

Updated 24 April 2016

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There is a little more information about how a Kramburg piano came to be in Spain nearly 90 years after it left my grandfather's factory.

I have added a page about my father, Harold Burgess, celebrating his practical and creative versatility. He was quite prepared to take on tasks beyond the usual level of maintenance and home improvement. I think he really enjoyed the research and planning he did before the actual construction stage, drawing precise diagrams and costing materials.

There is also a link to a page which looks at some newspaper extracts from April 1927. I came across fragments of editions of the Evening News and the Sunday Pictorial in the frame behind one of my father's watercolours. It was a different world in so many ways.

There are two extra photographs on the Newbury page showing Mark and Jane Burgess and their three daughters: Rose, Winnie and Daisy.

I have also added some information to the Taylor page about the houses in Liverpool that James Taylor, agent for a brewery, managed to buy and rent out, so providing sufficient income to support his unmarried daughters and the families of his sons. He must have sold considerable quantities of alcohol over the years to earn enough commission.

Finally I have added a photograph to the Burgess Transport page. It shows the Bentley that belonged to Albert Hely back in the 1950's being used in a rather unconventional way for a Bentley I would have thought.

Updated 10 December 2015

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Apart from several minor additions and alterations, the main change to the website appears on the Kramburg piano page. When Mark Burgess was manufacturing his pianos in the 1920's he surely couldn't have predicted that one would be rediscovered by his greatgrandson nearly 90 years later and returned to family ownership.

Updated 12 July 2015

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For once I have added a page for a non-relative: it describes what I know of Alf Thomas who served and died in the First World War. I would think his family and the Burgesses in Harringay were friends and this led to Rose keeping two photos of Alf and other documents referring to him. Rose would have been 12 when he was killed in 1918.

There is also a page of photographs dating from the Great War which includes three of family members in uniform, together with a brief account of their war service. Further information on these three, and any more similar family photographs, would be received very gratefully and added to the page.

There are additions to the introductory pages for Cambridge Burgesses, the Newbury family and the Dorset Burgesses and also for Mark Burgess's page.

Updated 14 April 2015

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I have updated David Dickson's page with much more information about his time in the United States. Was it common for immigrant families to cross the Atlantic so frequently?

Also from the Downpatrick family, there are some additions for Hugh Jennings, the turnkey.

On Jane Hordle's page is a photograph of the entrance to Richard Street in the parish of St George in the East where her husband and baby son died from cholera. Did their home at No. 2 resemble the house still standing on the corner I wonder?

Two members of the Looker family had to resort to the workhouse system for support as they became older and the circumstances are explained on the pages for David James Looker and Sophia Looker.

Updated 8 January 2015

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There is a new page for Hugh Jennings who was a turnkey at the Downpatrick gaol in the middle years of the 19th century. Official inspection reports tell of his promotions, his pay, and the regime he oversaw.

I may have identified the wireless and speaker shown in two photographs on the Lawrence page.

There is more information about John Johnston, the Leith shipmaster, who died in London.

I have added a newspaper cutting to the Dicksons of Downpatrick page. It shows a photograph of James Dickson's carpentry shop in Scotch Street about 1900. The caption usefully names most of the people pictured outside the shop.

Updated 20 October 2014

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I have added another family tree showing the Descendants of James Dickson from Downpatrick, County Down.

Updated 11 October 2014

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An unexpected and very welcome email has led to a new entry on the Burgess Transport page. One of my father's cousins purchased a Bentley which has survived the passing years in fine style. It may now be seen in all its glory nearly 65 years after it was first delivered to Albert Edward Hely.

Updated 22 September 2014

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There is now a new item on the menu of every page: a Contents and Site Map option. Hopefully it will help to find a particular page amongst the 80 odd pages available.

Updated 16 September 2014

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In the Memorabilia section (previously known as Photo Album) there is now a page of Edwardian Postcards. They are part of a collection of postcards and greetings cards sent to one of my aunts between 1905 and 1912. As well as showing how townscapes, transport and fashions have changed there is also social history to be found in the messages.

Updated 9 September 2014

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There is now more information about William Payne's origins in or near the village of Dewlish.

I have also added to the page for Frances Amelia Looker and included a link to an extra page about her prison warder husband Walter Miles.

Updated 10 August 2014

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I have added a page about the period in 1930-31 when Harold Burgess was being treated for tuberculosis. The recovery regime, as explained by Harold's Medical Superintendent, Dr Frederick Heaf, in a series of lectures, may be compared with descriptions of hospital life in Harold's letters.

Updated 4 November 2013

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There are now eight pages of extracts from Jim Taylor's letters home during WWII. The latest covers the first two months of 1942 and includes descriptions of dust storms and a desert "cat".

Updated 26 June 2013

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Much more is now known about Elizabeth Monica Lawrence and I have been able to update the Lawrence page and add a link to a further page for Elizabeth to bring together the previously separate parts of her life.

I have included an additional letter on the Kramburg piano page which explains what happened to the patent that Mark Burgess applied for. Unfortunately it was at the time he fell ill with pneumonia and he couldn't work for many months so he had to let the patent lapse.

There is a mystery photograph with a page to itself in the Memorabilia section. It is a portrait of a woman from the Taylor side of the family dating back, I think, to the early days of photography. Any suggestions on dating and/or identity of the sitter would be most welcome.

Also from the Taylors is a page about James Taylor the younger. James was the son of the earliest known member of the Taylor family, another James Taylor, and he moved from Scotland to Liverpool in 1871. Despite being relatively well-off, his own family suffered more than most from early deaths, then as a widower he had to cope with caring for his seven surviving children. The evidence suggests he may have found a slightly dubious solution to the problem; at least, it was for the time.

Updated 10 June 2013

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There is a new page with additional information on the Kramburg piano manufacturing business owned by Mark Burgess, including a blueprint of the design for his Separo piano ready for the Patent Office.

The page concerning Mark's correspondence with Downing Street during WWII has some further details including two of the replies.

The records for the Overseers of the Poor in Wareham show how one family gained from and contributed to parish rates. The Payne family were often in credit but, as soon as illness occurred and they needed support, the parish officials would be seeking to offload responsibility onto another parish.

I have added a page to the Memorabilia section wth photographs of family weddings from the first half of the twentieth century.

There are alterations to a number of other pages where new information has been added and errors corrected. The main changes are as follows:

The Cambridgeshire Burgesses has a little more about Mark the ostler.

Part of the page concerning William Payne's settlement examination has been rewritten.

The Burgess transport page has an extra photo and a correction.

Updated 9 April 2013

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In the Memorabilia section there are a number of new pages showing extracts from short books for children dating from the end of the Victorian period. Known as Toy Books, they each contain beautifully printed illustrations and a simple nursery rhyme story. Start on the Toy Books page and click on a cover to look inside the book.

On the page for Rose Burgess I have described how she started work aged fourteen helping a nanny to look after a family of young children. There is also a postcard showing the Cornish holiday home at Daymer Bay where she stayed with a second and quite illustrious family in 1931.

Updated 14 March 2012

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I have added a new page for members of the Hilditch family in Audley during the nineteenth century which includes some official reports of their less than perfect behaviour. There is also an accouint of the distress the family suffered between 1865 and 1872. Victorian life was harsh.

Also several pages have been updated after an editing session; it is surprising what repeatedly slips through the net however carefully one checks.

Updated 22 February 2012

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