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Topics - Lisa Skeels

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Norfolk / Houghton On The Hill, Norfolk
« on: Tuesday 14 March 17 11:19 GMT (UK)  »
Good Morning all

Not sure if this is the right place to post this message but I'm sure someone will point me in the right direction.

This year marks the 25 year anniversary of the re-discovery of St Mary's Church at Houghton On The Hill near North Pickenham by Bob Davey and his late wife Gloria.  An open weekend is being planned and the provisional dates are 7th and 8th October.  To this end, I am trying to collate as much information as I can about the inhabitants of the village and to unearth any (probably long ago told) family stories about the now disappeared Hamlet and it's church which can be available for the event.

I have received some very interesting information about one of the original families via a relative in Australia and I am fairly sure there are other emigrants, probably in Canada and/or USA.  I am myself going through the baptism/marriage and burial records available as well as tracing those who were recorded in Census records but I would be very pleased to receive any further information which may be of interest.

I very much look forward to hearing from anyone with any stories/family histories.  Thank you.


The Common Room / Norfolk Baptism Project
« on: Friday 26 February 16 10:17 GMT (UK)  »
I am unable to access the Norfolk Baptism Project website this morning at

Does anyone know if this is a temporary blip or is there a new link?

I really hope it's not gone, I use it regularly.

Kind regards


The Common Room / Murderer - Alfred Bligh
« on: Tuesday 17 November 15 10:22 GMT (UK)  »
Hello all

I am looking for any information regarding the murderer Alfred Bligh who was released from prison in February 1897 and who possibly used the alias Fred Hart to board a ship to Canada.

Before anyone looks, the story is not a pleasant one and I have lots of documentary evidence of what he did but, I have seen a piece of research , the narrative of which follows on from a Times article, which suggests the alias.  There is more than enough evidence to suggest the alias is more than likely and some which suggests that it probably did happen but I cannot find where this suggestion might have originated.  I have been in contact (via a third person) with the originator of the original research but they cannot, at the moment, remember their sources.

The local libraries have been very helpful but do not have reports of Bligh absconding.  There is no way the name could have been linked without some research into the family history.  Fred Hart does appear on the passenger list for the Laurentian in March 1897, Alfred Bligh who was released into the care of his brother in law does not appear on subequent UK Census records.

Can anyone help?

Thanks, Lisa

Cambridgeshire / Wisbech Shops 1930's
« on: Monday 02 November 15 13:08 GMT (UK)  »
I know this is a long shot but does anyone know where I can look for a directory/list of shops that existed in Wisbech Horsefair in the 1930's.  I know that Wisbech changed from Norfolk to Cambridgeshire and I have tried searching on both counties.

My reason for asking is that my grandfather was born in Norfolk and bought up in Wisbech following the death of his grandmother.  I understand that the person (I don't know if it was a family member or not) who looked after my grandfather ran a shop on the Horsefair in Wisbech.  He was born in 1918 and was back in Norfolk by 1940.

I thought that perhaps, if I could track down a list of shops (and proprietors) that maybe I could make a link back to my family tree. 

Thanks to all for reading this.


Australia / Charles Skeels died 1943
« on: Friday 14 August 15 13:15 BST (UK)  »
Hello everyone

I have been looking at my husband's family tree and, while looking for Charles Skeels, unexpectedly came up with death details for him in Australia.  I don't have access to Australia records and I would be grateful if anyone could help me with further information?

Charles was the son of Joseph Skeels and Matilda Welcher, he was born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, England on 10 March 1866 and married Elizabeth Chapman in Ely in 1886.  The last UK Census I can find them on is 1891 when they have two daughters Kate (1886) and May (1889); then nothing.

Thank you so much for looking at this for me.

Kind regards


Travelling People / Grays of Whittlesey
« on: Friday 17 July 15 13:39 BST (UK)  »
I am looking for some help on this one.  Family stories indicate that Ada Gray who was born in 1879 was a gipsy who married without the travelling community; I have a copy of her marriage certificate from 1902 in Whittlesey stating her father as John Gray, General Labourer.  It is said that her marriage did not work out and the couple lived apart for years and that she was not allowed to go back to her gipsy family.

I have traced John Gray's birth back to around 1852 in Whittlesey and it does seem that, during his childhood the family travelled between, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.  John Gray married Isabella Whyman (I think, although I can find no evidence) between 1871 and 1881.  John's father was Samuel Gray, bn 1825 Whittlesey who married Isabella Goode 1850 in Whittlesey.  The 1881 Census finds them in Lancashire where Samuel was an excavator and barer of stone.  His occupations include hay cutter, labourer and excavator.

I think, although I am not sure, that his father may also have been Samuel Gray bn around 1793 in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire; he married Letitia Bird.

I would like to be able to confirm the family links I have made and perhpas go back further.  It has also been said that the family travelled around Norfolk before finally settling in Whittlesey.  I can find no links to Norfolk ... yet.  Lots of the evidence fits to a travelling family and there are modern(ish) memories of travelling people visiting and being fondly welcomed by them.

Can anyone cast any light on this family - there are so many Grays I am going round in circles?

Thank you so much.


World War Two / F/Sgt Stanley Ivan Skeels
« on: Thursday 11 June 15 12:54 BST (UK)  »
I wonder if anyone can help with any information regarding the Royal Airforce in WWII?  My late father in law died in 1967 and we have VERY little information regarding his time in the Air Force except for a Flying Clothing Card issued 5 February 1945 (station illegible), a pass card valid for the year 1945 issued at RAF Station Beaulieu and a Sergeants Mess Subscription and Ration Card from RAF Killadeas valid for 1945 and issued to Sgt Skeels 624.

Stanley Ivan (also known as Ivan) Skeels, probably spent most of his active service as a navigator.  We also know that he suffered from frostbite at some point while trying to close a jammed bomb hatch and was indeed reported missing in action.  According to the medal list also found with the aforementioned papers, he should have received the 1939-45 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Air Crew Europe Star. the Defence Medal and the War Medal.

Can anyone help?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Norfolk / The Three Horse Shoes, Great Dunham
« on: Saturday 02 May 15 12:24 BST (UK)  »
During my research I have come across a former landlord of the Three Horse Shoes in Great Dunham which closed in 1965.  All the information I can gather comes from the website but I am very surprised that I cannot find any photographs - can anyone help please?  Father and son were the landlords between the 1870's and 1890's.

Other members of the same family also ran the Coach & Horses at North Pickenham and then the Blue Lion in North Pickenham.  I have plenty of information about the Blue Lion but not so much about the Coach & Horses which closed in 1903.  Both the Coach & Horses and the Three Horse Shoes were beerhouses.

Is there a good site I can look at for old photographs of Norfolk?

Thank you so much


Norfolk Lookup Requests / Albert George Johnson lookup request please
« on: Tuesday 14 April 15 15:56 BST (UK)  »
I wonder if someone with access to newspaper archives could see if there is any reference in old Norfolk newspapers to Albert George Johnson.  Albert was born in North Pickenham in 1901 and his death was registered in Swaffham in March 1930. 

There is little information, just a few snippets of conversations, due to the nature of his death but, it would appear that he hanged himself (some have said from a street lamp) following an accident in which a lady was killed.  There has been some mention of a motorbike.  One of his nieces apparently remembers finding a newspaper article that her parents had kept but until that time knew nothing of Albert.  He was, apparently, buried in an unmarked grave.  I am considering contacting the records office to see if they can help with this part of the query.

I would imagine that if someone was killed it would have been reported somewhere but I am finding it hard to find any further information.

Thanks to all for taking the time to read this request.


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