Author Topic: Excited by Ely Ancestors!  (Read 4903 times)

Offline saw119

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Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« on: Saturday 06 December 14 14:09 GMT (UK) »
Hello there, I am very excited to discover some ancestor from the fair city of Ely in my tree. The reason I am excited is I spent several years living in Cambridge, my wife's from there, so have visited Ely several times without even knowing. My ancestors migrated to my home city of Sheffield in the mid Victorian period (for what reason is anyone's guess) but thanks to the great online Cambridgeshire parish records on FindMyPast have already traced the family back to the early 17th century! What I am asking for help on here is resources to understand life in Ely through these times. I'm a great lover of social history so am driven to know more about environment, occupations and lifestyles of the past. So any books, pamphlets, websites, photographs and maps that you can direct me to I would really appreciate. Sadly, it seems unlikely that I will be able to visit Ely anytime soon, oh if only I'd known earlier, so please help me out and help quench my thirst for all things fenland.
Woollen and the variations thereof (Woolin, Woollin, Woolen etc) in the West Riding area

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Offline Galium

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 06 December 14 15:28 GMT (UK) »
http://www.cambridgeshirehistory.com/People/agriculturallabourers.html

is quite informative. Anyone researching fenland ancestors is likely to find whole families migrating away from the area, where work was mainly agricultural, and poorly paid; sometimes to the industrial areas of north England, sometimes much further, to North  America, or Australia.
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Offline saw119

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 06 December 14 18:39 GMT (UK) »
Yeah, that's the kind of thing I mean. However, my ancestors were metal workers in Ely according to the parish records and census returns.
Woollen and the variations thereof (Woolin, Woollin, Woolen etc) in the West Riding area

Online magslote

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Re The local Fenland
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 07 December 14 12:58 GMT (UK) »
Hello hope this gives you, some images of what fenland looked like, very flat landscape, Ely Catherdral stands on a small island, they call it  the catherdral of the fens, there were many monastic
abbeys around fenland, sawtry, ramsey, thorney, and ely and  crowland, the fish we call eels still swim in the rivers today, ramsey abbey seemed to be the richest, the fenlanders mostly  lived in boggy area
before the fens were drained, by wooden windmills, the real famous mere, thats a large lake, called whittlsea mere in 1851, it was 3miles/2miles, and was very shallow in places.the mere attracted many visitors in winter and summer, summer for sailing, winter for ice skating, the fenlanders earned their living by shooting wildfowl, stalking fish, in what we call a punt boat, cutting reeds which grew around the meres 4-6foot high, reed was used for thatching, digging turf dried, and ready to use for cooking, and lighting, lights and water was introduced around 1940s the local fenmen, new every inch of the fens in darkness, and the farmers still plough today on the black velvet soil, Holme Fen, is said to be below sea level, my ancesters lived around the Ramsey Holme Fen area, as you can guess I love fenland, in all its moods, fenlanders are still today very causious, and  curious to any stranger they meet, its a unique way of life, but sadly changing, there are very good fenland books to read, a fenlover, Margaret.









Offline saw119

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #4 on: Monday 08 December 14 09:21 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for that. It's true that the Fens have their own strange atmosphere to them.
Woollen and the variations thereof (Woolin, Woollin, Woolen etc) in the West Riding area

Offline jbml

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 28 December 14 09:07 GMT (UK) »
You cannot do better than visit the Ely museum - they have excellent displays there.

Also, the Norris museum in St Ives has a lot of very good stuff on Fenland life (albeit the opposite edge of the fens ... but fens is fens, right) and the staff there are very helpful.

Your search sounds very similar to mine. I grew up in Cambridge, and my parents moved to live in Ely when they retired, and my researches have sown that my Maternal grandmother's paternal line are all from the Cambridgeshire fens and the surrounding area, whilst my Maternal grandfather's maternal line are from Newmarket and South East Cambridgeshire. So with the online Cambridgeshire records, I have managed to trace some of my ancestry even further than you have, with one or two lines "falling off the beginning" of parish records ... so it's all exciting stuff, especially when the surnames I started uncovering were all instantly recognized as the surnames of people I'd known at school. Several of my classmates and teachers were almost certainly distant cousins ...
All identified names up to and including my great x5 grandparents: Abbot Andrews Baker Blenc(h)ow Brothers Burrows Chambers Clifton Cornwell Escott Fisher Foster Frost Giddins Groom Hardwick Harris Hart Hayho(e) Herman Holcomb(e) Holmes Hurley King-Spooner Martindale Mason Mitchell Murphy Neves Oakey Packman Palmer Peabody Pearce Pettit(t) Piper Pottenger Pound Purkis Rackliff(e) Richardson Scotford Sherman Sinden Snear Southam Spooner Stephenson Varing Weatherley Webb Whitney Wiles Wright

Offline jbml

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 28 December 14 09:10 GMT (UK) »
Incidentally ... pole vaulting originates in the fens. It's original purpose was not to attain height, but as a means of crossing watercourses and drainage cuts - i.e. it was a means of propelling yourself over a greater distance than you could jump (with the added advantage of knowing that if you failed, then as long as you held tight to the same part of the pole, gravity should bring you back to your point of departure with dry feet  :) )
All identified names up to and including my great x5 grandparents: Abbot Andrews Baker Blenc(h)ow Brothers Burrows Chambers Clifton Cornwell Escott Fisher Foster Frost Giddins Groom Hardwick Harris Hart Hayho(e) Herman Holcomb(e) Holmes Hurley King-Spooner Martindale Mason Mitchell Murphy Neves Oakey Packman Palmer Peabody Pearce Pettit(t) Piper Pottenger Pound Purkis Rackliff(e) Richardson Scotford Sherman Sinden Snear Southam Spooner Stephenson Varing Weatherley Webb Whitney Wiles Wright

Offline ke

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 22 February 15 12:31 GMT (UK) »
Pretty much all my ancestors are from the Fens, people think of Ely as it is now(surrounded by flat land) but it was once an island surrounded by foreboding marshland. It wasn't until the 19th century that the marshes were completely drained. In the 18th century it was said you still had to wade waist deep in water in places.

Before the Fens were drained we made our living from eel catching, wild fouling and reed harvesting. Some say British Celts survived in the Fens in the post Anglo-Saxon period, Saint Guthlac of Crowland was said to have been attacked by Britons living in the Fens, see this page on the Iceni:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceni

Might be true, my ydna is DF27 which is Iberian Celt :), my ancestor is thought to have come to Britain 3000ish years ago as part of the trade in metals.

Our ancestral tribe was called the Gywre:
http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/FeaturesBritain/BritishMapAD550.htm#Gywre

Punts are a particularly cool Fenland boat, we used them for travelling around. We have been using them a long time, 3000 year old examples of the boat have been found near Peterborough:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jun/04/eight-prehistoric-boats-bronze-age

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Fen

They also found some eel traps, the construction of which hasn't changed much in 3000 years.

Houses were mainly built out of wattle and daub(few trees in the Fens), there's a great example of a Fenland house at Wicken Fen.

The Isle of Ely was the last place in England to be conquered by the Normans, thanks to the heroic efforts of Hereward the Wake:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hereward_the_Wake

If you would like some more info just ask.

Rogers,Arnett, Day,Wilkin, Gill, Leach, Harper, Dewsbury, Johnson, Thompson. (All from Cambridgeshire).

Y DNA: R1b DF27(Iberian Celtic)

Offline Rudolf H B

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Re: Excited by Ely Ancestors!
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 22 February 15 12:46 GMT (UK) »
Ely Cathedral = „Ship of the Fens“
Goldschmidt; Gregory, Maude, Nancy Price, Welby (UK),
Goldschmidt > Goldsmith, Benetta, Bloom, Gillis, McDonough, Moses, Wheaton (Australia / NZ),
Spatz & Henderson (Greater London),
Herbert Spatz MC > H. Spence MC (Salisbury),
Spatz > Spence, Nichols. Kidd (Bromley > Manchester South, India),
Spatz > Spaatz (Boyertown, PA - USA),
Engel & Joly (Philadelphia, PA - USA).
Kummerer (London, Chicago & Australia).

WW1 - Cousins Killed in Action in the Australian, English, French & German Armies