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Topics - deejayEn

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We think this is a portrait of my great-grandfather Robert Lay but we're not 100% sure but it would help to date it. Can anyone help identify the year it was taken from the clothing and hairstyle.
The back shows the photographers to be Russell's Studios, 56 High Street, Camden Town, London NW1. Does anyone know anything about them, eg when they were trading and how long they were at that address.

World War One / Help wanted identiying regiment from uniform
« on: Sunday 08 April 18 16:07 BST (UK)  »
I have been sent an old photo of two soldiers in WWI, one of whom could be my ancestor. He is pictured with a pal, although it could be his brother. However I thought he was too young to join up as he was only born in 1902 but the soldiers here both look older than 16.
Can anyone identify the regiment from the cap badges and tell me something about the uniforms they are wearing?

I'm looking for information on what happened to a girl called Cynthia Holford, AKA Cynthia Wills or possibly McArthur She was born circa 1908-09 in Liverpool, England. Her mother was Charlotte Wills (nee Webb) who was born in London in 1869. She married gardener/florist William Wills in 1886 and had two children William Robert b1887 and Dorothy Zillah b1894. She desired to be an actress/performer and around 1901-1902 found success on the stage under the name Mamie Stewart appearing in musicals by Leslie Stuart and later formed her own theatrical company appearing in revues and pantos. Because of her new profession she separated from her husband around 1902 but during a voyage overseas a few years later met Richard Pierce Holford who was a steward on the SS Carpathia and later other ships. Although she never married they had one child who was Cynthia. I have found her and her mother on the 1911 census living in West Ham in East London and bizarrely Charlotte is now using the name Mamie Holford (a combination of her stage name and common-law husband's name) and claims to be an American citizen. She seemingly spent some time touring in America but never became a US citizen. Her daughter Cynthia Holford is living with her and is listed as being born in Liverpool. This fits in with her father Richard as he came from Liverpool-Birkenhead but he is not in the Census and was presumably away at sea. Charlotte/Mamie and Cynthia are living with friends, this was not their family home, in fact I don't know where her home was at the time. I have manged to piece this together over many years but it's what happened next that is the real puzzle. Charlotte died in 1913,  we think possibly in childbirth. Her son was in the army by this point and we don't know what happened to Dorothy. But Cynthia was just 5 or 6 and we believe went to live with a family (possibly called McArthur) in the West Country and later was adopted by a family, possibly a branch of the same family, in America and was taken to live there. But we don't know where. Can anyone help me trace what happened to her?

I researched my Grant ancestors many years ago but I only recently found out that my grandmother's grandfather had a sister from a previous marriage. She was Ellen Mary Grant born 1836 in Winfrith Newburgh in Dorset. Her parents were Thomas and Ann Grant.

Her mother died in 1838 and she was bought up by her grandparents in East Stoke near Wareham in Dorset. She moved up to London in the 1850s and on the 1861 census is living with her aunt and uncle Caroline and Alex Alexander who ran a bakers shop in Islington (her father died in 1855). She later married George Dommett who worked as an assistant in the butchers shop next door. They had two children Emmanuel and Edith and in 1873 they emigrated to New Zealand.

My grandmother, who was very knowledgeable about her Grant ancestors and helped me enormously when I started my family history research, knew nothing of this branch of the family, at least she never mentioned them. I assume she didn't realise she had relatives in New Zealand. Sadly she is no longer alive but I would be interested to know what happened to George and Ellen Dommett after they moved to New Zealand if anyone knows anything and if any descendants are still living. I believe Ellen's cousin Caroline Alexander also emigrated with them at the same time.

Armed Forces / Ancestor who was a soldier and a servant
« on: Thursday 16 February 17 18:06 GMT (UK)  »
I have traced my great-great grandfather and he was a butler on the 1881 census in London but ten years earlier in 1871 he is living in a different household in Ascot and is described as "Butler, Private Coldstream Guards". The head of the household's son-in-law is Christopher Edward Blackett who is living at home and described as a "Cpt & Lieut Cl Coldstream Guards".

I know that servants often served in the army with their masters and were usually called a valet or a batman. But here he is described as a butler and is at his masters home (or at least his mother-in-law's). Was this the normal practice? And does that mean that he traveled everywhere with him whether on active service or not?

Also although he is described as unmarried he had actually married the previous year. His wife is working as a cook in a different house in Hampshire in 1871 and is described as married. Was this unusual? I now that servants weren't usually permitted to marry except in the case of butlers and cooks but usually in the same household. And as he was also a soldier this may have added complications. Can anyone offer any advice?

Armed Forces / Help indentifying a services club in WWII Berlin
« on: Saturday 21 January 17 22:32 GMT (UK)  »
My father's cousin recently told me that her dad was responsible for running a club for British soldiers in post war Berlin. He was posted there from the end of the war until at least March 1946. He was a private in the Royal Artillery but his job working in hotels before the war gave him the experience to run the club. He also booked musicians and acts to perform there on a regular basis, these acts were mainly German.

She had two photographs of the interior, see below. Sadly there is no writing on the back save for the photographer's stamp which says - Foto. Werkstatt, W.Hoven. Credfeld DAH LER DYK 182.

The third photo of the soldiers in uniform may be from the same location but I'm not sure.

I can identify a poster on the wall of the club in the background of one of the photos which says, Athletics. This indicates that it is a club connected to the British and the Army rather than a German club. I did wonder if it was connected to the NAAFI but the photos I found of the NAAFI club in Berlin looked different to this.

I would love to know where the club was and if it is still there. Can anyone identify it or does anyone have any idea which clubs British soldiers used in Berlin in late 1945/early 1946? Any information will be gratefully received.

My grandmother gave me this photo a long time ago, it is a portrait of my great great grandparents Thomas and Susan Grant. I thought I had lost it but recently found it again. It must date from the early 1850s because he died in 1855.

it is very dark and faded, can anyone clean it up for me?

I have finally managed to trace my ancestor back to Ireland where my grandmother said her mother's family originally came from. I have found a baptism record for Patrick Higgins born in Dublin in 1783 at St Andrew's Church in Dublin City. The page is very faded but it is readable - he is the fifth one the page. I understand that his and his father's name have been abbreviated to Patte but what I can't read are the words after that. It looks like St Maa what I assume is an address beginning with R or K - does anyone know what it says?

Also are their any experts on Irish records who would help me to get further back or point me in the right direction. I was told that Patrick was a mariner but there is no occupation listed here. Can I find out more?

The Common Room / Help needed identifying ships sailed by a master mariner
« on: Wednesday 21 December 16 18:17 GMT (UK)  »
My ancestor was a master mariner in the 1850s and one of his certificates of service shows that he worked his way up from an apprentice at the age of 16 to a master (ie a captain) at the age of 35 in 1851. The back of the document shows a list of the various ships he worked on. I would like to find out more about them but I've having trouble identifying the right ships, especially the last one Rose which was the first ship he captained.

I believe they were mostly steam ships and some were operated by P&O. Can anyone point me in the right direction of where I can find the right ships based on what is written here and locate details of where they operated and maybe even pictures of them, etc.

Any help would be appreciated. The certificate is attached.

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