Society of Genealogists Library Archives


My Dearest Husband – My Darling Little Woman

Much has been written about George Frederick Tudor Sherwood, esteemed genealogist and Founder Fellow of the Society of Genealogists. The role he played in the early years of the foundation of the Society is immeasurable, hosting its early meetings at his offices in the Strand and as the first Hon. Secretary, later Hon Treasurer and then Chairman of the Executive. He worked fantastically hard and was one of the pioneering agitating genealogists in the early years of the twentieth century. Centenary013 George Tudor Sherwood obit thumb Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.He died in 1958 aged 91 and his obituary in the Genealogists’ Magazine of that year is accompanied by a portrait photograph of a man with a reserved, almost diffident look. Many of the manuscript research notes dispersed within the Society’s Document Collection are annotated and numbered in Sherwood’s distinctive hand and originated largely from his professional genealogical practice.

Amongst the special collections of the Society of Genealogists can be found the single box of the Sherwood collection comprising notes on his own family history in Berkshire and Kent. The collection also contains correspondence, accounts and other family ephemera. There are photocopies of the touching letters from Sherwood’s son Ralph, Private in the 2/25th Cyclist and 3rd Reserve Battalion regarding his training and service in the First World. The originals of these letters were deposited with the Imperial War Museum in 2000. The collection description gives a rather terse account of a second set of letters in the files – namely “Correspondence between George and Sophia Sherwood (nee Gibbs) covering their courtship, marriage and George Sherwood’s work as a genealogist amongst other subjects”

Sherwood letter My Dear Little Woman2 Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.

The earliest letter is dated Monday 11 March 1889 and addressed to “My Dear Miss Gibbs” in which the 22 year old George, just beginning his genealogical career, arranges to meet 26 year old Sophia at Walham Green Station the next Wednesday assuring her

“I could have discovered the house without the slightest difficulty as I made a special point of finding out its exact position when at the British Museum today. Had it been otherwise could you imagine for a moment that the trouble would have been anything but a pleasure? My cold is, on account of your good wishes, fast disappearing, in fact I feel quite robust in anticipation of meeting you … yours ever George F Tudor Sherwood”Sherwood letter My Darling Husband thumb Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.

The couple married later that year. They are kept apart much in life as George travelled extensively about the country for his business to look at records held in churches, libraries and local probate courts. He writes from Leicester, Nottingham, Canterbury and elsewhere often staying in local hotels. In one six month period during 1897, for instance, he visited Winchester, Wells, Andover, St Asaph and Peterborough. He writes of his unsuccessful searches.

“after a stiff day’s work at the Probate Registry – 10 to 5 – I have just finished tea – chop, mince pie and coffee – and a pipe. A cold sleety, windy night … With another day’s work I shall finish, but I am afraid in regard to Hadden the search will not give us the information we want …

… How is my little woman getting on? I hope tomorrow evening to get a train that will land me home not later than 10. “

 

Sherwood letter Christmas 1891 thumb Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.George and Sophia fall into the tradition of exchanging Christmas and Valentines letter each year. The envelope of the 1891 Christmas letter to Sophia is charmingly decorated with doodled heart shape shields. On the night before Valentine’s day in 1890 George writes

“My darling little woman

As you have just requested me to come to bed shortly in such beseeching tones and you think I might make it half past eleven, also taking into consideration that the little woman never has her own way, your valentine’s letter must of necessity be a short one. Need I say that the wish dearest to my heart is that we may be no less happy than we are now, each successive year bringing with it its own valentine in the shape of mutual affection, heath and peace of mind? For in the first place mutual affection is the talisman which in great measure ensures the last named, carrying with it toleration of each other’s failings and smoothing most of the difficulties in the path of life”

Several of George’s letters ask Sophia to forgive his failings. Their early years were a struggle together. There doesn’t seem to be much money in the life of a record agent. Debts are paid by borrowing from family and dipping into Sophia’s box. She sends him the key at one point imploring him to take the locket within. Separated frequently, they do miss each other terribly. Each spends time with their own aging parents and family and George is with his father, “the Guv” when he dies. In 1905 George writes from Somerset House “Of course I do miss you. I have been cold in bed at nights and slept badly”. George tries to keep house while Sophia herself is away but doesn’t seem to be very successful at keeping down the dirt or the mess of his working life and documents scattered around. By 1911 George has taken his office in the Strand where he is to host the Society’s inaugural meeting and presumably takes some of his working life out of what was to become the family home at 50 Beecroft Road, Brockley. However his rooms in the Strand were pretty soon overwhelmed by the growing collections of the Society of Genealogists that were housed there until 1914. George was editor of the Pedigree Register from 1907 “for authenticated genealogies and family history” and wrote extensively on genealogical matters and his genealogical business was finally taking off as he actively campaigned for greater access to public records.

The 1911 Census shows George and Sophia together at Beecroft Road with their 5 children, having been married 21 years. Their only son Ralph aged 19 is working with his father as a record agent. His sister May Sophia aged 20 is a pupil teacher. Presumably daughters Constance (16), Katherine (14) and Barbara (11) are still at school.

This happy marriage lasted 38 years until Sophia’s death in 1927 aged 64. By this time George was playing a prominent role at the Society of Genealogists as its “consummate administrator” and devoting much of his time to the development of the Society’s Great Card Index and D-Manuscripts (miscellaneous manuscript research notes arranged by surname, now known as the Document Collection). The letters between Sophia and George are just part of the Sherwood personal and genealogical papers found in one of the Society’s 350 Special Collections of family papers and genealogical research, and have been touched on only briefly in this article. They deserve to be read fully and transcribed as a personal history. The papers are, however, typical of what may be found in the Society of Genealogists’ Special Collections which are packed with personal papers, diaries, letters and photographs as well as pedigrees and genealogical notes.

Aged 62 George Sherwood met his 2nd wife Mrs May Ethel McIntyre nee Trinder at the Society. She was about the same age as his daughter May and had been a member herself since 1925 and secretary to one of the early Fellows. They married in 1929. George died in 1958 and an obituary appears in the Genealogists’ Magazine. Mrs May Sherwood returned to work for the Society as Archivist after her husband’s death and retired in 1966. Her own obituary in the Genealogists’ Magazine in 1975 shows George had been lucky again with his choice of partner as she was remembered for “the warm and friendly interest she took in everyone with whom she came in contact with and her genuine desire to help others with their problems. Added to this, her lively nature and robust sense of humour made her a most enjoyable companion at all times”. George and May were both profoundly devoted to the Society of Genealogists.

 

 

Sources

Society of Genealogists – Sherwood Collection

1911 Census

Family Matters. A History of Genealogy by Michael Sharpe, 2011

Society of Genealogists: A Century of Family History, Else Churchill, Nicholas Newington Irving and Roy Stockdill – eds, 2011.

 

 

Else Churchill

Valentines Day 2012.

 

 

Technorati Tags: , ,

Society of Genealogists Christmas, New Year and Stocktaking Closure Dates

The Society will be closed from 4pm on Saturday 24 December and will re-open at 10am on Wednesday 28 December. The Society will also be closed for New Year, stocktaking and closed week from 4pm on Saturday 31 December 2011 until 10am on Tuesday 10 January 2012

 

If you are planning a visit to the Society of Genealogists please keep an eye on the website www.sog.org.uk 

 

 

christmassleigh1 thumb1 Society of Genealogists Christmas, New Year and Stocktaking Closure DatesMay we take this opportunity to wish all SoG Members and Friends a Very Happy Christmas

and good luck with your family history research in the New Year

Technorati Tags: ,

Society of Genealogists’ Boyd’s Marriage Index now available on Genes Reunited

The SoG’s famous marriage index compiled by Percival Boyd comprising some 7million names is now available on Genesreunited

Percival Boyd

Boyd’s obituary published in the Genealogists’ Magazine Vol 12 p61 (June 1955) says he was born in 1866 but he was actually born on 29th June 1868 at St Paul’s, Haggerston, into a family of London merchants and warehousemen. He was educated at Sutton Valence Grammar School, Uppingham School and Clare College, Cambridge, where he received his MA in 1894. After leaving university he became a partner, chairman and managing director of the family firm in Friday Street, off Queen Victoria Street, in London. He became a liveryman of the Drapers Company in 1893, Master in 1926 and senior member of the Court of Assistants. In his spare time he was a member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, the Royal Philatelic Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.Centenary008. Percival Boyd thumb Society of Genealogists’ Boyd’s Marriage Index now available on Genes Reunited

Boyd joined the Society of Genealogists in 1922 and was made a Fellow in 1926. He served on the Executive Committee for 22 years from 1927-49, with a one-year gap in 1932 due to ill health, and was its Chairman from 1929-31 and 1938-40 and Vice-President from 1949 until his death.

Boyd’s Marriage Index

The Marriage Index was first announced to members in the Genealogists’ Magazine for September 1925 in an article entitled “An index to marriages”. It covers the period 1538 to 1837 with a few events dated earlier and one or two parishes continued later. Sources were transcripts of marriage registers – some borrowed from the transcriber for the purpose and then returned – bishop’s transcripts, marriage licences and banns registers.

After Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, all nonconformist marriages from 1754 to 1837, except those of Quakers and Jews, should have taken place in a parish church of the Church of England. In all, the index includes marriages from parts of over 4,320 parish registers and some Quaker marriages.

Theoretically, the index only covers England but there are some irregular marriages in Scotland relating to people from Holy Island 1776-1812 in the Northumberland and some marriages further afield in the extracts from the Gentleman’s Magazine 1731-1768. Entries taken from the Faculty Office Marriage Licences could also extend beyond England.

The information given for each entry is standardised and consists only of the year of marriage, names of partners and place of marriage or source of information such as ML or Gents. Mag. Where one partner is a long way from home Boyd indicates this and makes an entry in the home volume.

Entries for 16 of the best-covered English counties were typed into the Main series and entries for other counties and those taken from marriage licences were bound into a Miscellaneous series. At Boyd’s death in 1955 he had amassed approximately a further 1/4 million slips which he bequeathed to the Genealogical Society of Utah. They covered the full period from 1538-1837 and all English counties, including information compiled from marriage licences such as those at Wells. The GSU put this series of slips into strict alphabetical order and typed them up and this became the Second miscellaneous series which is NOT available online.

All told, there are approximately seven million entries in the index as a whole and it is estimated that this covers between ten and 15 per cent of pre-1837 English marriages. The best coverage is for the earlier period up to 1754 or 1812. Although the index bears Boyd’s name and he himself did, or paid to have done, most of the work, other members were involved in the project – both at the time and since his death.

Cambridgeshire – most of the marriage registers in the county before 1812, including BTs from Ely, were transcribed by the Reverend Evelyn Young. Writing in Nov 1935, the year before his death, he said that he had then “copied approx 130,00 Cambs marriages”. Those supplementing his work for the period 1801-37 were compiled by Thomas Peter Roysse Layng in 1977.

Durham and Northumberland were largely the work of Herbert Maxwell Wood, FSA. Very few of the index entries go beyond 1812. In Durham two go down to 1826 and three to 1837 and in Northumberland three parishes are covered to 1814 and one to 1818. Herbert Wood died in 1929.

Gloucestershire was indexed by Eric Arthur Roe, TSG, and includes entries from BTs as well as registers. Many of the entries for Bristol parishes and one or two other places are extracts only but half a dozen or so parishes are included down to 1875. From 1876-1926 only marriages for Great Rissington are indexed. Roe’s slips were typed up by the GSU in 1958.

Yorkshire – all of the indexing for Yorkshire was done by Norman Hindsley before he emigrated to Calgary in Canada.

Since Boyd’s death a number of other genealogists and family history societies have indexed marriages in their own counties by using unpublished original as well transcribed registers but his amazing pioneering work is still one of the largest and most impressive indexes of its kind.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

The Society of Genealogists again celebrated a successful weekend at Olympia as Who Do You Think You Are? Live reached its fifth year. 

The Society’s centenary celebrations were launched in style at a reception hosted by the Society’s centenary sponsors findmypast.co.uk and we were delighted that our new book The Society of Genealogists: A Hundred Years of Family History arrived just in time to take to the show. An interview with Debra Chatfield from FMP talking  to Chris Paton about the Society of Genealogists Data online is available on Youtube

As usual the membership team and volunteers manned the SoG’s stand (newly designed for this year) to sign up new members and tell everyone about the Society. I don’t think we broke last year’s record for sign ups but we came pretty close which, considering the economy, was a considerable achievement. So a big thank-you to all at the stand and of course to those who were kept busy selling on the bookstall. The new titles (the SoG History and Jayne Shrimpton’s Getting the Most from Family Pictures) seemed to be well appreciated and sold well. I hear SoG Librarian Tim Lawrence was quietly pleased with the quality of books available on his second hand books stall and he and his team raised a nice sum for the Library.

Away from the SoG stand the new space for the Society’s Ask the Experts Area in the upper gallery was well appreciated. We managed the queues well and helped as many people as ever before. Every time I rushed by I saw a huge numbers at the tables with all our expert volunteers so thanks to everyone who helped Lori and her team in that area. However, I do hope we can arrange for that big new space to be a little warmer next year.

The SoG workshops were well attended with many selling out and lots of people standing outside listening in. Some of the handouts and slides from the speakers at WDYTYA?Live 2011 are available on the Family History Show Pages of the Society of Genealogists’ website

Spreading the workshops out in the Upper Gallery was good for the audience and speakers but did mean I had to sprint from one to the other during the handover breaks between talks to thank all my speakers and make sure everyone was happy. I think they were and as usual all the talks were of an excellent quality. I am particularly grateful to the overseas speakers from New Zealand, Israel and America who travelled to take part and it was great to meet so many eminently knowledgeable speakers. However if you missed me in the blur as I strode purposefully past you know where I was heading.

The Society of Genealogists’ Family History show remains an integral part of WDYTYA?Live and the stall holders seemed as busy as ever. It struck me that a few voices disappeared as the stall holders talked to thousands of visitors. We were delighted to see the return of some societies who haven’t been able to attend in past years.

So what news did we hear at the show? Brand Events,who organised the event for the last 5 years, has sold its major share of the show to BBC Magazines Bristol who will be managing the event from now on and who have lots of new plans to take the event further. I didn’t have time to enquire on what’s new on all the stands so I am grateful to fellow bloggers and inveterate news hounds Dick Eastman and Chris Paton for posting show news round ups so early. The British Library announced its digitisation of the India Collections. The Genealogists is adding war memorials and Deceased Online has added Scottish MIs. Findmypast will be adding transcriptions of Scottish census records only. The trends for the future look to be technology and its potential for enhancing the family history experience so look out for new workshop content and more social network elements for next year’s WDYTYA?Live 2012. See you there.

 We will be posting some of our own pictures  from the show in due course but here are a few pictures taken by our friend Chris Paton and Pictures from Dick Eastman posted on their blogs

Technorati Tags: , ,

If you’ve been researching your family history for years you probably know exactly what you want to get from your day at Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE but have a look at the show highlights and make sure you’re making the most of your day.

We’ve created a special ticket to supply you with targeted information on advanced subjects from esteemed speakers – why not buy one of the Conference Ticket for Sunday 27th February to take advantage of a networking lounge and three exclusive seminars as well as all the other show features and workshops.

The usual price is £30* but the Society of Genealogists is delighted to be able to offer a special price of £28* for anyone booking this conference. Book tickets directly on the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE Website using the offer code CONFSOG

* £2 transaction fee applies.  Offer ends 25th February 2011. 

12.15-13.00 EXCLUSIVE FAMILY HISTORY CONFERENCE at WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?LIVE

Sunday 27 Feb

 

How to make Google work harder for your family history!

 

With Lisa Cook

Discover innovative ways to work smarter and find more family history golden nuggets than you thought possible with the power of Google. Create a Genealogy Research Homepage. Learn quick and easy ways to follow the best genealogy Podcasts and Blogs. Make Google Your own personal genealogy research assistant with Google Alerts. We’ll make Google search the web for you 24 hours a day and provide tips for how to get Google to deliver the best results to your email inbox.

 

 

Lisa Louise Cooke is the CEO of Genealogy Gems.She produces and hosts the Genealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show, and the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, both available at www.GenealogyGems.com, and in iTunes.

Lisa is the author of Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies, the DVD Google Earth for Genealogy, and Genealogy Gems Premium Audio Podcast Episode digital downloads. Her newest book Google for Genealogy is set for publication Fall 2010.

 

13.15-14.00 EXCLUSIVE FAMILY HISTORY CONFERENCE at WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?LIVE

Sunday 27 Feb

Surnames, DNA and Family History

With Dr Turi King

Advances in genetic technology over the last ten years have brought an exciting new element to genealogical research. Is genetics able to provide answers when the paper trail runs out?

During this lecture, Dr Turi King will speak about her work on the link between surnames and DNA, what it tells us about the history of surnames, and current research using surnames to explore population histories. This lecture covers material which forms part of the upcoming book written with Professor David Hey, and George Redmonds, entitled Surnames, DNA and Family History.

Dr. Turi King is currently working as a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester carrying out further work on the link between surnames and DNA.. Following a brief period working at Cambridge University, Turi moved back to Leicester to carry out a PhD under the supervision of Professor Mark Jobling in the Department of Genetics on a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship. Turi was awarded the School of Biological Sciences PhD Prize for her thesis entitled “The relationship between British surnames and Y- chromosomal haplotypes”.

 

14.15-15.00 EXCLUSIVE FAMILY HISTORY CONFERENCE at WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?LIVE

Sunday 27 Feb

Are your ancestors frozen in time?

 

With Claire V. Brisson-Banks,

Inevitably there are brick walls in genealogy. These situations take extra time, effort and sometimes money to solve, giving up is not the answer. Using unusual and little known resources, thinking out of the box and taking advantage of Internet resources can be the answer to locating

Claire V. Brisson-Banks, B.S., MLIS, A.G. ®, accredited in England and a professional researcher for US/Canada, Scotland and Web 2.0 technology. Owns Timeless Genealogy and is currently on staff at the Family History Library, SLC, UT, as the Senior Staff Information Services Specialist & British Reference Consultant. She is a member of multiple societies and published in various genealogical and academic publications, a board member for both ICAPGen and CCLA and maintains multiple blogs and online social media. 

Technorati Tags: , , ,

 Page 2 of 7 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »