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Topics - Little Nell

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Buckinghamshire Resources & Offers / Link: History of Eton Wick
« on: Tuesday 03 May 22 16:19 BST (UK)  »
Lots of interesting articles and links on this village history website:

The Common Room / National Archives, Kew - closed until end of May 2020
« on: Thursday 19 March 20 17:10 GMT (UK)  »
As is to be expected, the National Archives has closed its doors to visitors.

However, their website and research guides remain available.  The catalogue is still a useful resource even if we cannot get access either to the records or get them copied.  I recently discovered that a Hampshire ancestor had volunteered to work in Canada during the American wars of Independence to support the Royal Navy ships there.  That was well worth the speculative search in an idle moment........

Happy hunting everyone, and stay well.  :)


Buckinghamshire Resources & Offers / Link: Digital Newspaper Archive - Slough Express
« on: Thursday 31 October 19 20:27 GMT (UK)  »
The publishers of the Slough Express are making their archive available online.  It is a subscription service - options include single edition, seven-days, monthly or annual. There is no obligation to subscribe before you search for what you are looking for.

For the Slough Express, the editions available begin in 1950.

Check out what is available and a sample browse at this link:

The publishers of the Maidenhead Advertiser and Windsor Express are making their archive available online.  It is a subscription service - options include single edition, seven-days, monthly or annual. There is no obligation to subscribe before you search for what you are looking for.

The Advertiser editions begin in 1870, while the Windsor Express editions begin in 1812.  There are some gaps in the Express editions. 

Check out what is available and a sample browse at this link:

Canada / Hunting for James HUNTER
« on: Wednesday 04 September 19 16:25 BST (UK)  »
I'm looking for some help with a long-standing brickwall.  Apologies for the length of what follows, but I'm trying to give all the information that I have and which might help.

James Hunter was b 1783 in Leith, Scotland, parents Andrew Hunter & Euphemia Muir – I have his baptism record.  Mother died in 1784, father remarried.  He was a merchant in Leith, his business failed in 1790s, he died in 1821 in Melrose.

James married in 1804 to Mary Blaikie at Melrose.  They had 6 children as far as I know:
Andrew (1805) – fate unknown
James (1806 – 1891)
Elizabeth (1809) – fate unknown
Euphemia (1813-1891)
Robert (1815-1901)
John (1820) - fate unknown

An unsubstantiated family story is that James senior was a schoolmaster. He definitely took his family to North America and there are conflicting accounts as to where the youngest two were actually born, Scotland or America.  The baptisms are recorded in the Galashiels OPR .

James junior emigrated to USA in about 1833, with wife Janet and two young children.  They eventually settled in North Adams, Massachusetts and had a further 4 children.  This James founded the James Hunter Machine Company there.  He became a senior deacon in his local Congregational church.

Euphemia married a resident of Galashiels.  Robert became a minister in the Evangelical Union church and died in Leith.

James senior’s uncle John Hunter, who died in 1830, left a detailed testament dated 1819 indicating that James was in North America at that time.  When the will was registered, there was no indication that James was dead or of his whereabouts.

The various histories of the James Hunter Machine Company and obituaries indicate that James junior was sent to school in Edinburgh when aged 9 and apprenticed to a woollen manufacturer in Galashiels.  There is an online tree which says that the school was George Watson’s in Edinburgh.

I can find no definite trace of James Hunter senior and his wife Mary in the records after the birth of John in 1820.  Robert and James junior were in contact with each other – family photos of children taken in North Adams still exist.  Possibly James junior visited his brother in late 1880s since there is a photo of Robert  with his wife and some of his own children with a gentleman who bears a very strong resemblance to James junior and to himself.

James senior’s wife Mary Blaikie was dead by 1842 when her brother George wrote his testament.  George left James an annuity and indicated that James was currently abroad.  George died in 1854 and made some alterations to his original settlement but did not alter any statement or bequest for James. 

However, an obituary in the North Adams Transcript of 27 Feb 1899 for Mrs Sarah Parker, née Hunter, aged 51 said that she had been born in Canada and had lived in North Adams for about 40 years.  Her parents were Mr & Mrs James Hunter and she was ‘the half-sister of the late Deacon James Hunter.’  Deacon James Hunter died in 1891 and his son James was still alive.  In 1860 census for the household of James junior, there is a Sarah Hunter, born in Canada of the right age to be this Sarah.  James junior and his wife did not have a daughter named Sarah. 

Sarah also had a sister, a Mrs B B Eldridge of Janesville, Wisconsin.  I have found her in later censuses in USA and she indicates that she was born about 1844.  She married BB Eldridge in 1878.  She was Mary A Hunter – I have not found her  in an official record prior to this date.

A 1901 biographical publication of the counties of Rock, Green, Grant Iowa & Lafayette, Wisconsin record that Mary was the daughter of a Scottish Presbyterian minister of Quebec, Canada and he died there aged 92.  He was a minister of the Congregational church and died only 2 days after delivering his last sermon. This seems to be James senior, born in 1783.   I have found note of a burial in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal for a James Hunter who d 25 Sep 1876, but I don’t have any other detail.

So I’d love to be able to find out answers to any of the following:

When & where did Mary Blaikie die?
Where and when did James die? 
Who was his second wife and when did they marry?
Where in Canada were his daughters born?

Can anyone help, please?


Armed Forces / Any idea of regiment and date, please
« on: Saturday 29 September 18 16:33 BST (UK)  »
I'm hoping that some of you very knowledgeable people might be able to give me some useful information about the soldiers in the attached photo.

It was in amongst some family photos that came to me a while ago, but I'm only just looking at it again to see who it might be.  It is printed as a postcard and the only handwriting on the back says "To Tom, From Harry."  Unfortunately there were several Toms and a few Harrys in the family!  :-\

Can anyone tell me what regiment they might be, please, and dare I hope for a rough date?



Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Assistance with reading this name, please
« on: Wednesday 19 October 16 21:18 BST (UK)  »
The attached snip is from a will dated 1599.  The writing is a wee bit challenging in places, but I've got most of it.

This snip contains the name of one of the testator's sons and I have been struggling with it for the past couple of days.

I'd welcome any thoughts.  :)


Cornwall Resources & Offers / New Digital Archive of Cornish Life
« on: Thursday 26 November 15 21:57 GMT (UK)  »
A new digital archive of photos, film and stories documenting Cornish life can be found here:

It brings together a number of collections that have not been accessible before.

There are plans to upload more items in the future.

Limerick / 1875 marriage in Limerick
« on: Friday 24 July 15 20:59 BST (UK)  »
I have a copy of a marriage certificate from 1875, but I'm totally confused by some parts of it.  I have to confess I have not done any research in Ireland so I'm woefully ignorant.   :(

The marriage took place in "the parish church in the parish of St Michael" in the City of Limerick by licence.  It also states that the marriage took place "in the Catholic Church according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of Ireland."

I had thought that the Church of Ireland was Anglican. 

Would I expect to find this entry in the registers recently released online by NLI?

Any help welcome.


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