“Whilst I live, I Crow”

  This is a post for the genealogists – about arcane Masonic documents hidden in tin boxes, and secret compartments in nineteenth century writing slopes and – lots of fun stuff like that. Genealogy-wise, can you believe we have a tin box that originally belonged to my husband’s great-great grandfather, that a lovely step great […]

antique textiles Brontes Genealogy Textile Arts

On Reverse Engineering. And Ag Labs and Farmers.

  A quick heads-up. I have two pieces out this month.  One for the knitters and one for the genealogists. For the knitters,  there’s something about reverse engineering knitting from old photographs (‘The Knitter’, Issue 107).  Probably something I should go into more depth with here on the blog, some time soon.  Over the few […]


Hemingway Mystery

One day, I’m going to have to get the death certificates.  But check out the death dates on this gravestone. These are my great grandma, Annie Hemingway’s, siblings. The children were buried at Hensall, in the old West Riding.  Their parents were William Hemingway and Charlotte nee Lambert. The Hemingways were Master Wheelwrights for generations, […]

Genealogy Textile Arts

Spinner and Weaver of Ballyknock, County Mayo

If you’re a descendant of the Lavelles/Lavells, of Ballyknock, County Mayo, do get in touch. I have something of your’s! Occasionally, at the local car boot sale, I find some lost genealogical treasure and often think it would be cool to re-unite it with its rightful owners. My parents’ generation threw away old certificates “because […]

Genealogy local history world war one

Uncle Walt’s “Record Off Journeys”

    Sometimes, even very official looking historical sources get it wrong. This slightly limb-challenged gentleman is my ‘Uncle Walt’, the miller at South Duffield; born the son of a miller in Braithwaite, Yorkshire.  I have this very photo but don’t appear to have scanned my version, so will link to it, here. Do click […]

foundlings Genealogy Halifax Huddersfield Leeds West Riding

The Faux Foundling

One for the genealogists today so you might want to look away now if you’re not into this stuff! This is a blog post I have tried to start, many times. And given up on. Due to its complexity. So here it is – finally –  the  lengthy (sorry) story of how we finally broke […]

Genealogy Hull & Humber

A Pink Dog Lead

  What was your first piece of knitting?  Mine was… a pink dog lead! For many knitters, our craft becomes intricately purled together with their life stories and personalities. We all have a story in stitches; here’s mine. Like so many women (and men), I learned to knit from my mother at around the age […]

Genealogy handspinning History

Very Amiable Gentlewoman

  Still  employing myself studying the (historical) crazy. Digging around in some York archives, last week. For an upcoming article in a genealogy magazine about crafts and eighteenth/nineteenth century insanity. Here are some snippets I thought might interest readers, but I can’t shoehorn into the piece ~ some more fascinating reasons for inmates being “a […]

Genealogy Halifax Hand spinning History Huddersfield Leeds local history

White Cloth, Mixed Cloth, and High Horses

Writing of Leeds’ White and Mixed Cloth Halls, in 1814, Seacroft man George Walker said: “They are both open every Tuesday and Saturday morning for one hour; in which very limited time all the business is transacted. The cloth is arranged on low wooden stands; the manufacturer behind it, and the merchant or buyer passes […]

Genealogy History Leeds local history


This is my Great Uncle, William Boothman, Gunner X8 Battery of Trench Mortars in the Royal Field Artillery. His unit were nicknamed ‘the Suicide Squad’. Men joining it, reckoned their remaining lifespan in days or weeks. He survived several years… William ran away to join up and was fetched back home, at least once. This […]