Motivation Monday – Top Ten for 2016

My genealogy ‘to-dos’ are numerous & I never seem to make much progess, probably because I’m too easily distracted by those pesky shaking leaves* on Ancestry!

So I’ve decided to list the top ten things I could really do with getting to the bottom of and hope that a list will keep me focussed!


  1. Finish searching the French online records for my Oldham family in Calais. The Census and Birth/Marriage/Death records are all freely available online. I’ve found the family in 1866, but also need to look further back to see if the previous generation spent time there and also if any of them went to Australia.
  2. Transcribe sections of Joseph Woolley’s diary and finish reading/copying the remainder at the Nottingham Archives. Continuing with the Oldham family, but this time in Clifton, Nottinghamshire. Joseph Woolley was a framework knitter from Clifton, as well as his own business his diary documents he commented on his neighbours and local events. I need to transcribe the pages I’ve already photographed and finish reading the remaining sections in the Archives.
  3. Finish checking the Methodist records at the Nottinghamshire Archives. I’m mostly looking for Oldhams in these records, but other family names have cropped up too.
  4. Make use of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society’s research room. To find more Oldham information, specifically Thomas Oldknow Oldham’s birth/baptism around 1834. Also check their online databases.
  5. Finish reading Percy Richardson’s war diary and finish the blog posts.
  6. Tidy and reorganise documents, certificate and books. Before ordering any more!
  7. Check out parish records on Find My Past. Look for my May family in Frant, Sussex from 1600 working backwards.
  8. Visit some local churchyards to look for gravestones. Sawley, Moira, Donisthorpe, Church Wilne, Draycott, Basford, Ashby-de-la-Zouch & others aren’t too far away to visit and record any memorial inscriptions.
  9. Look for tithe maps and census information for Pilsley. To find out who lived in and/or owned my late father-in-law’s farmhouse.
  10. Start scanning photos. I received a Doxie Flip as a Christmas present so I’m intending to scan and share many of my photos.

So – lots to do!

*if you have your family tree uploaded to Ancestry, they kindly add a little ‘shaking leaf’ to any family member they may have records available for, which is usually enough to distract me from doing what I’d orginally logged on to do in the first place!

Hints & tips

Ancestry’s Roots Web site is a fantastic genealogical resource that,I have to admit, I probably don’t use as much as I could.

I’ve found the mailing lists to be useful, I subscribe to the Nottingham, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire and North Yorkshire ones.  You can email a query and your fellow subscribers will try & help you with it.  I’ve never emailed a query in, but I find just reading through the ones that crop up can give me an idea of what other resources are available & where they can be found.

A recent post on the Nottingham list by the well known genealogist Roy Stockdill has given me further links to follow with my Oldknow-Oldham family.

He shares a tip on searching within FreeBMD  a site I have already found invaluable in finding BMD (Birth, Marriage & Death) indexes;

This little trick I discovered can be very useful indeed if you have an unusual surname and
especially for those doing one-name studies. Here it is…..
When researching at FreeBMD, try this…..
1) Leave the surname field blank.
2) Enter into the first name field your surname of interest with either a plus sign or an asterisk
in front of it – this is vital and either the plus symbol or an asterisk both work.
3) Select All Types and press the Search button.
What you will get is a list of events (births, marriages and deaths) in which your surname of
interest appears as a MIDDLE forename. 

In my case I searched for +Oldknow & narrowed the search to Nottinghamshire, which gave the following results:

Mar 1854 Oldham Thomas Oldknow Radford 7b 166
Mar 1854 Palethorp Thomas Oldknow Basford 7b 141
Jun 1854 Palethorpe Sarah Oldknow Radford 7b 112
Jun 1854 Palethorpe Thomas Oldknow Basford 7b 95
Jun 1856 OLDHAM Thomas Oldknow Radford 7b 168
Dec 1856 Brandrith George Oldknow Radford 7b 313
Mar 1857 Jones Henry Oldknow Shardlow 7b 356
Mar 1857 Palethorp David Oldknow Basford 7b 157
Jun 1858 Oldham John Oldknow Nottingham 7b 200
Jun 1858 Oldknow John Oldknow Nottingham 7b 200
Mar 1859 PALETHORPE Joseph Oldknow Basford 7b 149
Mar 1861 Palethorp Samuel Oldknow Basford 7b 741
Sep 1861 Palethorp Samuel Oldknow Basford 7b 82
Dec 1862 PALETHORP Hannah Oldknow Basford 7b 149
Dec 1864 Oldham Thomas Oldknow Nottingham 7b 380
Dec 1867 Harrison John Oldknow Shardlow 7b 355
Dec 1873 Oldham William Oldknow Nottingham 7b 490
Mar 1875 Wright Frank Oldknow Nottingham 7b 250
Mar 1875 WRIGHT Frank Oldknow Nottingham 7b 260
Dec 1875 Clarke Frederick Oldknow Basford 7b 107
Dec 1875 WRIGHT Frank Oldknow Nottingham 7b 159
Sep 1876 Wright William Oldknow Nottingham 7b 272
Dec 1877 Oldham John Oldknow Nottingham 7b 559
Dec 1878 WRIGHT Frank Oldknow Nottingham 7b 268
Dec 1880 OLDHAM Wilfred Oldknow Nottingham 7b 264
Mar 1881 Oldham Edith Oldknow Nottingham 7b 287
Sep 1882 Palethorpe Joseph Oldknow Basford 7b 188
Mar 1883 Palethorpe Annie Oldknow Basford 7b 241
Jun 1883 Palethorpe Thomas Oldknow Basford 7b 191
Sep 1884 Oldham Gertrude Oldknow Nottingham 7b 301
Mar 1885 Swann Louisa Oldknow Basford 7b 118
Jun 1885 PALETHORPE David Oldknow Nottingham 7b 410
Mar 1886 PALETHORPE Joseph Oldknow Basford 7b 217
Mar 1886 PALETHORPE Mary Oldknow Basford 7b 256
Sep 1886 Oldham William Oldknow Nottingham 7b 138
Mar 1887 Oldham Alice Oldknow Nottingham 7b 255
Dec 1887 Palethorpe David Oldknow Basford 7b 228
Mar 1888 Palethorpe Helen Oldknow Basford 7b 233
Jun 1889 Oldham Thomas Oldknow Nottingham 7b 148
Dec 1891 Oldham Annie Oldknow Nottingham 7b 680
Mar 1892 Burrows William Oldknow Shardlow 7b 444
Sep 1896 Oldham Edith Oldknow Nottingham 7b 177
Dec 1897 CLARK Frederick Oldknow Mansfield 7b 165
Dec 1897 Clarke Frederick Oldknow Mansfield 7b 165
Sep 1898 Clarke Leslie Oldknow Mansfield 7b 101
Dec 1898 OLDHAM Harriet Oldknow Nottingham 7b 758
Jun 1901 PALETHORPE William Oldknow Basford 7b 260
Jun 1903 Oldham Frederick Oldknow Nottingham 7b 753
Jun 1904 Palethorpe Thomas Oldknow Basford 7b 290
Dec 1904 OLDHAM Thomas Oldknow Nottingham 32 7b 273
Dec 1904 Palethorpe Thomas Oldknow Nottingham 7b 229
Sep 1905 PALETHORPE Mary Oldknow Nottingham 7b 575
Dec 1906 OLDHAM Gertrude Oldknow Nottingham 7b 905
Jun 1908 Oldham Wilfred Oldknow Nottingham 7b 871
Mar 1909 OLDHAM Alice Oldknow Nottingham 7b 510

Quite a list, with a few surnames such as Palethorpe, Swann, Clarke and Burrows that I hadn’t come across before.  It’s possible to check these people in the census returns and see if they can shed any more light on this branch of my family.

Back to the Nottingham Oldhams

I still haven’t been able to locate either William Henry Oldham or Thomas Oldknow Oldham in the local baptism records, although the Census records suggest they were both born in Nottingham.

The next step will be to find the non-conformist registers and see if they are in there.  I know there are some at the Nottingham Archives, it’s a matter of finding the right one!

A couple of years ago I was in touch with Gillian Kelly via her website here.  She has done extensive research on the Nottingham lacemakers who went to Calais and then later emigrated to Australia.  Although my Oldhams weren’t in Calais at the time of her research (they were there later) she did manage to find a baptism in her records of a Gervase Oldham on the 25th May 1842 in the Methodist Chapel in Calais.  His parents were William Oldham & Eliza Oldknow.

This does fit in with my Oldhams, and I do have a record of a Gervase born in 1842 to parents of the same name, but according to his birth certificate he was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire on the 25th August!

Back to the records I think!

The Nottingham Oldhams….continued

I have been trying to discover who the William Henry Oldham is that shares a grave with my 4x great grandfather in the Nottingham General Cemetery.

I have managed to find him in the census of 1871 and 1881, living with his French born wife, Elizabeth, so it is possible that he spent the previous years in France, which explains his non-appearance in previous census returns.  He is shown as a lace maker in the census, which fits in nicely with the rest of the family.  William died in 1885, so I have come to the end of anything the census may show.

So the next step was to send off for his birth certificate, which arrived the other day.

I was delighted to see that his mother’s maiden name was Oldknow, which probably explains the mystery of this being used as a middle name through the following generations of children.

I think he may be the brother of my 3x great grandfather, Thomas Oldknow Oldham, who was born around 1834 and whose birth I haven’t yet found.

So it’s back to the Nottingham archives to check this out!

The Nottingham Oldhams

Back in autumn last year, I went in search of family graves in Nottingham’s General Cemetery.

Nottingham General Cemetery

The cemetery is fairly big and contains approximately 29000 graves.  The Nottingham Family History Society have memorial inscriptions for the graves, so I knew there were existing headstones there and I found the plot numbers by looking through the burial indexes in Nottingham Archives, they also had a map showing the original plot numbers from when the cemetery was founded in 1837.  The map is huge, it covers almost the whole of one study table in the archives, but I managed to get a reasonable idea of where to start looking and a very kind Roots Chat member helped me further with a map of areas which corresponds with the NFHS memorial transcripts.

Plot 2010 William Oldham (1814-1899) my 4x great-grandfather
Plot 2010 Thomas Oldknow Oldham (1856-1899) my 2x great uncle

The plot is the space on the left – no headstone for this one

Plot 2424 Thomas Oldknow Oldham (1843-1904) my 3x great grandfather
Plot 2424 Harriett Oldham (nee Winfield) (1828-1904) my 3x great grandmother
Plot 2424 Harold Claude Hammersley (?-1944)

Plot 1980 William Oldknow Oldham (1854-1886) my 2x great grandfather
Plot 1980 Alice Oldham (nee May) (1847-1938) my 2x great grandmother
Plot 1980 Edith Oldknow Oldham (1881-1896) my 2x great aunt

I haven’t yet placed a William Henry Oldham who shares a plot no 2010. I haven’t found him with the family in any of the census, so my next job will be to find out how he fits in.

I also need to find where the ‘Oldknow’ middle name comes from.  There are a couple of possibilites.  Most likely is that it’s a mother’s maiden name, or they could have some connection to the lacemaking Oldknows of Nottingham.  If a family had a vague connection to a more illustrious local family, it wasn’t unknown for them to annex their surname to their own as a form of one-up-man-ship with the neighbours!

So my next step with this family will be to look William Henry up in the Census and follow him back, to see if I can find him with his parents when he was much younger. Hopefully this will tell me where he fits in.