Our Family History Website

For the Burgess and Taylor Families


Jo and Richard 1969

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 (contact@burgesses.info) 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:

There is a new page describing the events of 29th February 1920 when James Henry Newbury, brother of Jane Newbury, was shot in the chest in Ferrier Street, Wandsworth, and the surprising discovery that his assailant, although taken to court, was not tried for the crime.

Updated 23 May 2023


Very often in family history the records and consequently any accounts feature the male ancestors and particularly the head of each family: the ladies are sidelined if they are mentioned at all. I have now added a page exploring the lives and especially the occupations of ten female members of the Hilditch and Hall families related to Thomas Percy Hilditch: his two sisters and eight aunts. Between them they demonstrate a variety of life experiences that illustrate the expectations, opportunities and limitations they encountered.

Updated 20 February 2023


A number of additions have been made over the past year updating the Cambridgeshire Burgess pages, with sources and family tree now including the Islip ancestors. For the Dorset Burgess pages there is a modern photograph of the Hermitage on the Isle of Wight where Harold Burgess convalesced after suffering from TB. It is recognisable as the same building sketched by Harold when he was staying there. I have also been able to add a photograph of Jane Hordle, Harold's grandmother, to the page with her story. Many thanks to John Whitlock for allowing me to use it.

The latest three pages concern Harold's younger brother Cyril Burgess. The first describes his life which was at times incredibly sad yet he always seemed to us youngsters to be full of fun. Then in his sixties and through to his eighties he became startlingly adventurous, as explained on a second page. From that page there is another link to a further page about a trip Cyril made to China in 1982.

Updated 21 January 2023


The release of the 1921 census for England and Wales has brought new opportunities to investigate several branches of our family.

Rose Burgess began working in 1919 as a "nurse domestic" helping a nanny to look after several small children. The census lists quite a mixture of relationships and ages, which explains the names on photographs from that time and identifies the writers of several letters that Rose received after the older children had left home for public school.

The life of Elizabeth Monica Lawrence has always provided plenty of questions and gaps to fill, but the census and several other sources have gone a long way towards joining the dots. Both the Lawrence Home page and the Elizabeth Lawrence page have been updated.

Sarah Martha Burgess, who sometimes changed her name to Annie Emma after her marriage to Henry Walker, went even further after she was widowed and married again. Uncovering this was prompted by a search for the family's whereabouts in 1921 and led to additional surprises.

Updated 6 May 2022


There is a new page about my 2 x great grandfather, Joseph Burgess, and his ancestry in Cambridgeshire. His grandmother, Ann Islip, hailed from a small village in Rutland, some sixty miles from where Joseph and his parents were born and lived all their lives. Ann had followed her elder sister, Mary, from South Luffenham to Melbourn and both girls married Cambridgeshire lads in All Saints Church, Melbourn. I have come across many examples of villagers leaving rural life for the opportunities offered by a large town or city, but not merely exchanging one village for another. How would it have come about I wonder? It would be interesting to discover some local link to explain the move.

Tithe records and maps of Berkshire have revealed several plots of land alongside the Thames, and indeed a stretch of the river itself, which were worked by William Finmore, Thames fisherman of Clewer. They give an insight into how he made his living from the river and its banks and islands.

Updated 16 December 2021


There are several additions to the page of family members who fought in World War 1.

A photograph has been added for Frederick John Hall who died in 1916. He was a cousin of Thomas Percy Hilditch. Many thanks to J K McKay for giving me permission to use the photograph from her family tree on Ancestry.

Three brothers, cousins of Harold Burgess, all joined the Army early in the war. They were Albert, Charles and Reginald Flower and they all survived through to the end, but their stories are not without incident.

Updated 19 February 2021


Several pages have been updated with additions and corrections, in particular five of the family tree pages have new, much needed, descendant charts. They are those of Adam, Dickson, Johnston, Bray and Payne; easily recognised now by being on a white background and all accessible from the Trees page on the Menu. The remaining three tree pages (for Fish, Griffin and Statham) will be replaced next and the pages of sources brought up-to-date at the same time.

Also new is a 29th page of wartime letters which finally confirms that Jim Taylor saw the end of the war and celebrated VE Day in Germany. Within a few days he left the country for some much anticipated Home Leave, but returned to Germany before the end of May for several months as part of the occupation forces. His letters just before VE Day contain many passages on his impressions of Germany and its people: foreign labour, evidence of looting, freed POWs and ex-German soldiers all feature, together with an encounter with the Lancastrian wife of a German national.

Updated 27 August 2020


The pages of wartime letters from Jim Taylor to his wife Pip have now been taken up to April 1945 when the 44th Royal Tank Regiment had entered Germany and crossed the Rhine. There is a link on the page to a colourful German propaganda booklet Jim brought back with him, aimed at undermining the welcome that the Dutch might show towards the forthcoming "Second Front". Another link opens a new window with a translation of the text. It seems to use a lot of space picturing the positives to be foreseen with the arrival of the Allies before trying to find the downside of a damaging war on their doorsteps. In the event, from what Jim described in his letters, the welcome was universal and the destruction, although bad enough, not as wholesale as in German towns and villages.

Updated 7 August 2020


After a lengthy look at the Adam family members in St Ninians, Stirlingshire throughout the nineteenth century, I have replaced the previous page for them with a new one entitled "St Ninians and the Adam family". There appear to have been three distinct families called Adam in and around the St Ninians parish and so far I have found marriages connecting two of these. Within the text of the new page there are two links to further pages about the Adam family. One may assist with tracing their movements between farms over the years by providing tables of census records from 1841 to 1901 arranged by farm rather than occupants. The other links to a page of five maps of the St Ninians area showing where their farms were located.

Finally, within the Family Trees folder, there is a new descendants tree for the main Adam family headed by James Adam and Isabella Muirhead.

Updated 25 July 2020


I have added to the page for James Taylor and Mary Adam following Mary Taylor and her family's move to Glasgow after James died. Census and other records reveal their movements around the city and the children's marriages, including one between two of the grandchildren.

Updated 16 June 2020


Back in 2017 a survey was initiated by Hanneke Booij to assess the state of the Kirk O'Muir graveyard in St Ninians, Stirlingshire. This was published under the title “Kirk O’Muir. Graveyard and Gravestone Recording Report 2017-2019” by "The Valley Renewables Group - The Development Trust For The Carron Valley". Despite severe weathering the inscriptions on several of the gravestones could be traced to members of the Adam family and I have been able to identify some of them and give a little background to their lives and place in our family tree. On a new page for the Kirk O'Muir Cemetery there is a link to the full report and associated appendices.

Updated 13 June 2020


There are two further pages concerning the Taylor family. The first is a plea for information about a miniature portrait of a gentleman in uniform painted around 1800. Research and speculation suggest he might be a Dickson or a Swan and the uniform could be that of a Volunteer Rifle Regiment. The quality of the painting is good enough for it to be by Raeburn. The portrait and its story so far may be seen on a page in the Memorabilia section. Any suggestions for the sitter, the uniform or indeed the artist would be most welcome.

The other page extends the extracts from Jim Taylor's wartime letters up to January 1945. He describes some near misses, including one involving sanitary arrangements rather than enemy action, and comments on the appearance and sound of V-1s, V-2s and jet-propelled aircraft.

Updated 9 May 2020


The latest page for Jim Taylor's wartime letters covers the period he spent in Belgium and Holland beginning just before Operation Market Garden and "the Arnhem effort" as he calls it. He describes the frequent changes of billet, sometimes for the better and sometimes for very much worse, and likewise the differing attitudes of his hosts. In amongst anecdotes on the humorous side of army life are his thoughts on the courage of frontline infantry, paratroopers and bomber crews, and even an account of his attempts to discuss religious matters with a Belgian woman, in French.

There are also further additions to the earlier pages of letters, with extracts from the Regimental History and Jim's thoughts on the official account and his own experiences.

Updated 23 April 2020


Sometimes an idle thought leads to unexpected discoveries. Many years ago Jim Taylor drew up several family trees for his niece and included descriptions of those he knew a litttle about. Amongst these notes he commented that a cousin named Tom Jennings had made the wedding cake for his sister Mary Taylor. But Tom didn't appear on any of the trees. So began a minor research project, ideally suited to a period of coronavirus induced self-isolation, to find Tom Jennings and discover how he was qualified to be a cousin. That term's definition became ever looser as the branches of the Jennings tree spread wider and revealed a dynasty of bakers.

Updated 16 April 2020


Sarah Martha Burgess was one of the sisters of Mark Burgess, my grandfather. She married Henry Arthur Walker in 1892 and they had six children before 1911, but during this period she sometimes called herself Annie, or Annie Emma. I have described her story on a new page about the Walker family of Camden Town. There is a somewhat poignant aspect to the tale as Annie Emma was the name of her sister who had died in 1884, when Sarah was ten years old.

Updated 22 March 2020


Many of the pages of letters from WW2 have now been updated with extracts and factual information from two new and rich sources.

The first is Jim Taylor's service record which has confirmed some of the dates and movements described in his letters. It is particularly useful for those occasions when he was writing long after the event, such as when he was transferred to and from hospital.

The second source is a book entitled: A History of the 44th Royal Tank Regiment 1939 - 1945. This was written by serving members of the Regiment and gives a very clear account of the movements of the 44th throughout the war. This is obviously immensely helpful when placing Jim's letters into some kind of context but becomes invaluable owing to the many margin notes added by Jim himself. Sometimes these enlarge upon events described superficially in his letters - owing to censorship; sometimes they give a personal twist to the 'official' account - the implications of campaign decisions for Jim as an individual.

So far I have updated about half the pages with details extracted from Jim's service record and added quotations and margin notes from the Regimental History to pages covering the journey to the Middle East and the war in the Western Desert up to the preparations for the invasion of Sicily in June 1943.

Updated 5 February 2020


In one of the latest letters from Jim Taylor, on a page covering the period when he left France and entered Belgium, he managed to give Pip a hint as to his whereabouts by referring to the route they took for their honeymoon in Grindelwald in Summer 1939. He may well have tried a similar ploy in early August when he wrote "Come to think of it the area is Willy the Conquish - I can easily picture Norman knights bursting with wine and chivalry cantering their gallant steeds down these lanes..." At the time he would have been close to Falaise, the birth place of William the Conqueror. I wonder if the censor knew that - or didn't mind?

Updated 15 November 2019


There are two new pages of extracts from Jim Taylor's letters describing his experiences during the summer of 1944. The first covers the period up to 25 July when Jim's regiment was moved to Carpiquet Aerodrome and the second includes the attack on the Falaise Pocket in August. Both pages are illustrated with several photographs taken at the time.

I have also made small additions to the five previous pages now that I have been able to date more of the letters by looking at the timeline of events leading up to D-Day. Jim pointed out in one letter that he didn't always know the date and sometimes forgot to find out in time to add it.

Updated 16 June 2019


A month after war was declared in 1939 the Burgess family moved from a flat in Harringay, North London to a terraced house in Highclere Road, New Malden. A new page describes the area and what life was like for them at that time.

Updated 6 May 2019


Following on from the page of letters described below, I have now added another page which includes Jim's life leading up to D Day and his first few days in France. It includes three photos taken on board a landing craft crossing the Channel on what he describes as D3.

Updated 19 March 2019


Back to the Second World War and Jim Taylor's latest letters page begins in Italy, takes in a stay in a North African hospital, and finishes "somewhere in Europe" in January 1944, just before he returns to England for the preparations leading up to D-Day.

Updated 2 December 2018


There are now eight veterans remembered on the First World War page, including two who lost their lives, aged nineteen and twenty.

Updated 27 November 2018


To mark the centenary of the end of The Great War I have added to the two pages remembering family and friends who were active participants. I would welcome further photographs and/or information for these and any others who were involved.

The pages are The First World War and Alfred Francis Thomas.

Updated 10 November 2018


Jim Taylor's progress through Italy in October 1943 is described on another page of extracts from his letters home. After the news blackout and busy preparations for the move from North Africa to Sicily he had more time for letter writing and more to write about with the change of continent: farmyards and animals, fresh meat and cooking methods, biting ants and boils, a new lorry and its contents, Italians and their politics, his state of mind and memories of home.

Updated 22 October 2018


Shortly before she died in 2013, Jessie Bailey, née Hilditch, wrote a memoir of her working life from the time she left school to her retirement in 1983. She was the third daughter of Professor Hilditch and Elizabeth Lawrence. She described how, after helping out with the family of a local Rector she was conscripted into the ATS in 1941, manning searchlights and serving in the Catering Corps until she was demobbed in 1946. Jessie explained how her next "job" at the newly created St Asaph Hospital became a career that grew alongside the development of the local health service. The latest page includes a transcription of her memoir together with some explanatory notes and photographs

Updated 14 October 2018


Between July and October 1943 Jim Taylor not only invaded Sicily but crossed over to mainland Italy, as related on a new page of the few letters he was able to send home. He apologised several times for the long delays between letters, due not only to the war but also to the malaria he contracted. The latter was a reason for him to revise his opinion of Sicily - it was no longer such a welcome change from the desert. For an official view of the new environment there are extracts from the Soldiers' Guides to Sicily and Italy, as issued to the invasion force, on a page in the Memorabilia section of this website.

Updated 25 September 2018


I have added a page about Dudley Hely who raced a Healey Silverstone sports car in the 1950's until he died as a result of a road accident while he was driving the Healey near Towcester in Northamptonshire in May 1956.

Updated 12 June 2018


There is a new page about the Payne family of Dewlish describing how three brothers joined the Dorsetshire Militia to supplement their earnings as thatchers in the eighteenth century. One of the brothers went on to play a very minor role during the American War of Independence as a marine guarding prisoners of war held on board a notorious hulk.

Jim Taylor's letters have reached July 1943 with the latest extracts spread over two new pages. The first covers a fairly quiet period in January and February; the second includes the build-up to Jim's arrival in Sicily, although he could write little about the invasion preparations and his letters dwindled away to none for a whole month. There is humour in his letters, often at the illogicalities of Army life, but there is also frustration at the nature and consequences of the war.

Updated 14 May 2018


Two new pages of letters from Jim Taylor have been added, bringing the extracts from his wartime correspondence up to early 1943. Letters 15 includes the period covering the 2nd Battle of El Alamein and also Jim's personal battle with mice. Letters 16 contains descriptions of some of his fellow drivers with whom he spent seven days on leave in Tel Aviv. Both pages of extracts include some of Jim's thoughts on religion and society, and also descriptions of several incidents when he had near misses under fire.

Updated 2 February 2018


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 yourself 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Updated 11 October 2014


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 account 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