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Topics - Iain...

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The Common Room / LESTER family…, anyone own this finger ?
« on: Monday 09 January 23 13:22 GMT (UK)  »
Good afternoon everyone.  I’m wondering if someone could help me find a birth or death date ?  If I have it, Ancestry should be able to help me find descendants.  I’ve started a tree for this former Waterloo soldier, (no relation) but I need a date before any information can be extracted from Ancestry or the British Newspaper Archives.

A few years back, the ‘Waterloo Uncovered’ archaeologists discovered a finger bone at the Hougoumont farm.  Nothing unusual in that, despite bones being an extremely rare find following so many deaths.  However, I am researching a certain private called Joseph Lester who served in the 2nd Battalion 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards.  On his demob papers, the Surgeon Major wrote, as usual, ‘worn out,’ but he also added that Joseph had lost a middle finger of his right hand.  Unfortunately, he wrote that the cause of this injury was due to a prior battle.  I would like the opportunity to check that out by finding a descendant, then ask for a DNA test. 
Yes…, a very remote possibility, but you never know !

   Birth abt1789 • St. Nicholas, Newcastle, Northumberland, England.
   1806 description - Height 5-feet, 11 and 1/8 inches. 'Sandy' hair, grey eyes, fair complexion.
   Enlistment - 18 April 1807
   On his Statement of Service, the officer wrote that he was seventeen years of age.
   Demob 5 April 1827 • London, England.  Sergeant…, following 21-years, 12 days.  Conduct very good.
   1827 Chelsea Pensioner Outpatient, aged 38.

Working on the assumption that an Ancestry member has him in their tree, that relation could have him down as being a former soldier. 
This man was one of the Guardsmen who assisted with a shoulder during the second breach of the Northgate…, and Wellington knew his name.

Thanks in advance…, Iain. 

The Common Room / ‘MY’ Ancestry trees – but unrelated :
« on: Wednesday 04 January 23 15:17 GMT (UK)  »
Good afternoon everyone…
I wrote to Ancestry a few weeks ago with a question, however, they did not reply.

I am a battlefield detective specializing in Waterloo, and in order to research the soldiers involved, I have created quite a few trees to assist with their biographies.  Two of the many advantages with the system is that I learn the name of a wife, who could have been a Camp Follower. (I have one perfect example who ended up helping the surgeons at the field hospital at Mont-Saint-Jean)  Another Guardsman lost a finger…, and the archaeologists found a finger bone.  By knowing his descendants, this could allow for a DNA test.
Another more common example of the system could be when a neighbour or a friend needs help with his/her genealogy. (something that must happen with thousands of us around the world)  Creating such random trees would be in Ancestry’s interest. (publicity, encouraging membership while helping members with their personal research)  However, it’s not very interesting for ‘me,’ to have a neighbour’s tree next to mine. 
Because these Waterloo trees are next to mine, and if any Ancestry member stumbles on one of them, they could be led to believe that we are related.   

So, my question to Ancestry was…, is there a place on the website where these trees can be placed, while still remaining responsible for them ?

Anyone any ideas ?   ;)
Thanks…, Iain. 

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Pen in which hand :
« on: Wednesday 23 November 22 05:37 GMT (UK)  »
Good morning everyone…

A quick question from someone who is a fanatic for detail. (lol)  By looking at a signature, is it possible to tell if the owner is right or left-handed ?

The first was Matthew Clay’s signature and the second was Robert Gann’s cross. (1815) 

Robert was Matthew’s Old Soldier at Hougoumont, Waterloo.  Both were firing from one of the chateau windows, and I’d like to know who was on what side of the window. 
Taking into consideration that left and right-handed soldiers held their muskets differently, this tells us what each man was looking at.  A minor detail, but important in relation to my paragraph.   

Thanks in advance…, Iain. 

Armed Forces / Enlistment date and what regiment :
« on: Thursday 17 November 22 09:17 GMT (UK)  »
Good morning All…   I have a problem with FindMyPast for the time being, in that by living in a post-Brexit Belgium, I need to pay 20€ above the subscription fee for the transfer of money ‘overseas.’  They replied that they don’t have a European bank account number.
In the meantime, I have a problem, (plus a conundrum) concerning a soldier…

His name was Thomas Corbett, baptism 13th Jan 1785 Kingswinford, Stafford. (father James – mother Elizabeth)  The Royal Chelsea Hospital has him resident in 1827, having served in two regiments.
I have him joining up in 1807, (no date) but I do not know if it was with the 96th Regiment of Foot, or the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards.  At the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he was a Sergeant with the 2nd Battalion Third Guards.  Unfortunately, he was Court-Martialled a week later and that had him being transferred to the 96th.
If anyone can provide me with an enlistment date and the ‘1807’ regiment, it would be very much appreciated.   

As for the conundrum…  Cutting a long story short, Thomas ‘obviously’ didn’t receive a Waterloo Medal.  However, he was Court-Martialled along with another man, and that man received a Waterloo Medal in 1835. (both men were scapegoats)
In the meantime, I have a Thomas Corbett on the 96th Waterloo Medal List, meaning that he, or someone with the same name received a medal.  But here’s the conundrum…, could the 96th Commanding Officer have reacted in the same way as the Third Guards CO during the other man’s demob, while on the same understanding that Corbett was also unjustly Court-Martialled ? 

Pouring down here in Belgium…, just as it did at Waterloo.  ;)
Thanks in advance…, Iain. 

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Trade title ::
« on: Monday 14 November 22 10:27 GMT (UK)  »
Can someone please tell me what Private Joseph Lester’s trade was ?  Lol…, I’m sure when someone tells me, I’ll say “yes…, of course it is.” (as usual)

This is his demob papers…
Thirty-seven years of age, 5 feet 11 and a half inches, ‘sandy’ hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion…, and by trade or occupation a ???????????.
DATE: 5th of April 1827.

Thanks in advance.
Kind Regards…, Iain. 

The Common Room / Guillaume Van Cutsem…, and Wellington:
« on: Monday 17 October 22 18:11 BST (UK)  »
Good evening All…


The Common Room / Guillaume Van Cutsem…, and Wellington:
« on: Monday 17 October 22 18:05 BST (UK)  »
Good evening All…

Over the past 10-years, I’ve been doing a lot of research in relation to my regiment The Scots Guards at Waterloo, and for the time being, one such Belgian local is bothering me. 
Just in the off-chance, (as RootsChat has helped me enormously over the past few years) I’m wondering if someone may be able to provide some advice.  Of course…, I must obviously provide you all with a mini-mini-history lesson.

Wellington’s right flank held a farm called Hougoumont.  The farm had 4 orchards, meaning that its product was cider.  Most of the other farms in the region like the Mont-Saint-Jean brewery specialized with beer of all sorts, to become the world’s N°1 beer exporter.
The farm had a farmer called Antoine Dumonceau, and its gardener was a bloke called Guillaume Van Cutsem.  And it’s this gardener that interests me.  In the meantime, I started a brief Ancestry tree for him…

My problem is that there are two Guillaume Van Cutsems…, one who was born at Plancenoit, (where the Prussian leader Blücher arrived at the very last moment) and the other lived at Braine-L’Alleud, being the closest town to the farm.   
Perhaps I should explain that concerning French/Dutch/Flemish names, there’s a difference between ‘Van’ and ‘van.’  As many of you already know, a capital ‘V’ is used for a commoner, while a small ‘v’ usually refers to nobility. (many Belgians ignore this ‘V’ and opt for a pretentious ‘v’…, however, when you trace back a few generations, their 2xGr Grandad had a ‘V’) 
Because of it, and because he was a gardener, I chose Van Cutsem from Plancenoit.
(as a note of interest, Victor Hugo maintained that ‘Van’ Cutsem and his daughter were in the farm on the morning of the battle, while the Guards teased her with hard-tack biscuits)

However, here’s my problem.
Last month, I visited a friend who is the owner of the Mont-Saint-Jean brewery, Anthony Martin. (lol…, another note of interest, and probably the most important…, he produces my favourite beer ‘Gordons,’ plus the Battle of Waterloo beer)  During our conversation, Anthony commented that his company was mulling over the possibility of manufacturing cider…, and if all goes to plan, he may also include Calvados. 
Suddenly, on the other side of his enormous bureau, surrounded by dozens of open-air office-staff, I thought…  “WOW, could Hougoumont have produced Calvados”?  In the meantime, Guillaume van Cutsem (small ‘v’) was a distiller.

Of course, I couldn’t keep it to myself, and I mentioned it to him.  In turn, he advised me to contact the Customs and Excise.
In the meantime, I know a couple of people in the Braine-L’Alleud Town Hall, and one lady in particular is called Véronique Denis, an expert with the region’s history.  However, before I contact her, I was wondering if anyone could provide some advice ?

Any advice, would be very much appreciated.
Kind Regards…, Iain. 

The Common Room / Icehouse :
« on: Wednesday 21 September 22 09:26 BST (UK)  »
Good morning everyone…

I’ve posted this just in the off-chance that someone may have seen something like this near Great Granddad’s icehouse.  If so, any idea what this granite block was used for ? 
Let me explain…

This underground room can be found in the Hougoumont farm at Waterloo.  I live nearby. 
It was not part of the chateau, and it is not deep enough to be a well. (there are two nearby wells and the water level is much deeper)  And it is certainly too small for it to be an icehouse. 
However, some friends say that it could have been a room to stock the ice taken from an icehouse, which was probably situated somewhere outside the domain.  Such a room could then have facilitated easy access to the ice, while rendering it a ‘cool room’ to conserve foodstuffs. 
If this was the case, then we could be looking at something linked to child labour, as the access hole is only 18-inches wide. 

If this room was used to stock blocks of ice, and if children were sent down to bring it up, (in pieces) is it possible that that granite block in the far corner was used to crush the ice ?
If we look carefully, it has a rounded underside.  And it doesn’t need much imagination to visualize a young lad standing on it like a seesaw, while another pushes the ice under one end to have it crushed. 
Or was there another use for it ?

Thanks in advance…, Iain. 

Armed Forces / The Royal Chelsea Hospital and pensions:
« on: Monday 18 April 22 10:48 BST (UK)  »
Good morning All…  Just a quick question…

I’m unable to find a death date for a soldier who participated at Waterloo.  I have his FindMyPast release papers plus the Ancestry page relating to pension and his hospital illness. (it's also mentioned in the National Archives)
However, try as I may, I am unable to find an 'Ancestry' page that mentions when the last payment was made.  Which would obviously lead me to assume that he died the same year. 

Does such a page exist ?
Thanks in advance…, Iain. 

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