Monthly Archives: January 2011

Chantry Chapel, Wakefield

The Chantry Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin is a beautiful place – one of Wakefield’s few ‘little treasures’ left !

How many local people pass by on their way in or out of the city and never pay it a second thought.  But you would be surprised what a little oasis it is, just a few yards away from the busy A61.

You can’t say that you didn’t know it was there, as some might who do not know or care what Wakefield has to offer.  But the Chapel on the Bridge has been around a while and seen such a great deal as it stands with its feet in the river Calder and its face on the bridge awaiting and welcoming its visitors.

What has the chantry seen in its lifetime – this could be a long list!  It has seen Richard, Duke of York and the Battle of Wakefield in the mid 1400’s where Richard was killed. It has seen the Reformation when it was closed and then used as a warehouse, library, office and cheese shop, probably only surviving to today because it is an integral part of the bridge on which it sits so neatly.  It has seen it once again become a place of worship, and at one time being the parish church for the area until St Mary’s church was built.

The Chantry Chapel has outlived many of the younger counterparts including St Mary’s.  It has seen Kings and Queens come and go, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and countless other conflicts but still she continues to flourish, now having a full calendar of events and support.

Please pay our ‘little treasure’ a visit as she loves the company!

The history of the Chapel can be found here with other information

Allegations & Bonds

Allegations & Bonds for the Wakefield area.

A couple were to be married but wished to dispense with the proclomation of the banns on the 3 successive Sundays prior to their wedding.  The church would issue a licence to marry, waving the banns but the couple would have to do a little paperwork.

The Allegation or affidavit was a formal statement by the couple about their ages, marital status , residence.  To this affidavit was added an oath stating that there was no ‘formal impediment’ or reason why the marriage should not take place.

The Bond, worn by two ‘sufficient witnesses’  – one normally being the grom, his father or a close friend, pledge to forfeit a large sum of money if there was any untruths being declared.  The bond was not to be laughed at as it could be any sum between £40 and £200.  This sum was set to prove that this was not a light-hearted matter that the couple were intending to go ahead with.

Who took out Bonds & Allegations to avoid marrying by banns or in the local church – well, an Overseer of the poor, could pay for a licence and marry off one of the pregnant young girls in the poorhouse before she gave birth.  Or, Mr Jones may wish to have his daughter married to her boyfriend, very quickly – thus trying to avoid any local scandal when the child came before the wedding.  Or, people of standing, of note and the grand of the area who wished to marry in a private house or chapel.  So as you can see the full social spectrum is covered.

But after all that, it does not mean that the couple actually ‘tied the knot’.

The transcript can be found by clicking here

Scottish Occupations

Was your relative a crofter?  If he was you will surely know what he did and how he earned a living.  But what if your relative was a Guager or a Howdywife, a Lorimer, an Orraman, a Colporteur or even a Fencible?  What did they do for a living? How did they earn the money to feed themselves and/or their family?

If curiosity is getting the better of you then you had better visit the Scottish Occupations section on the sister site of Wakefield Family History Sharing,  Moray Family History Sharing and have a peruse through the old occupations.

If your family are from south of the border you may find these occupations interesting too!

Moray Libindex – e.g. John Younie

If you have family in the Morayshire or as it was called Elginshire, you will know of the Libindex.  If on the other hand you have just found your family there or the surrounding counties you may not know what a fantastic resource the Local Council have put on the web.

The Libindex is the Local Heritage Service’s index to sources of information about people, places and subjects relating to Moray.  These sources include archives from the 13th C to 1975, local newspapers, monumental inscriptions and a lot more.

The online Libindex is regularly updated and contains a people index upwards of 200,00 names.  The places index includes plans from the architectural collection as well as photographs.  The subject section is very diverse and includes topics on education, sport, archaeology and highway robbery.

Take for example John Younie, his entry in the Libindex tells that his father was William Younie of Scott’s Terrace, Forres.  He married Jane Audrey Forbes of Greenhill, Munlochy on 12 November 1921 in Inverness.  He died at Appleby Hall, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire on 13 August 1945.

This Moray resource for John Younie also gives the dates of newspaper articles relating to John i.e. his marriage, his death (2 newspapers) and his obituary.

Now, if you live out of the area, and many of us do, what a fantastic source of information is that, to have at the other end of the internet?

Well Done, Moray Council!

The Moray Libindex can be found by clicking here

The Moray Local Heritage Collection  can be found here

Parish of Dallas, Morayshire

Years ago a very nice man sent me the 1811 census for Dallas, Morayshire and what a fantastic find that was.  My Riach family come from Dallas and the surrounding area and I was now able to find information about my family and add families that linked in.

The information includes :- Residence, Name, Occupation and Age.

In total there are entries for 199 families, that equates to over 870 people.

The same person also sent me Dallas, Morayshire Monunemtal Inscriptions – another fantastic webpage for people with Dallas families, including inscriptions for :- Riach, Miller, James, Grant, Masson,  Young and an inscription for William Grigor, USA in memory of his father who died in 1856.

So much information can be found within these two sources, so go on, have a look!

The 1811 census for Dallas, Morayshire can be found here

The Monumental Inscriptions for Dallas, Morayshire can be found here

Walk the streets of 18C Wakefield

Have you every wondered what it would be like to be walking the streets of 18th century Wakefield ?

Bishopgate, former Cock & Bottle Yard

Well, a notebook of William Scarth will take you there and for anyone who knows the town, these notes are sure to be of interest. There is even one instance where two of the people known to William Scarth go to America ~ a snippet for family historians and helpful if you happen to have ‘lost’ someone !

There are a few maps that help you to get your barings while following Mr Scarth chatting about his neighbours and people whom he knew.

William tells of Mr Oakland who kept the Golden Cup public house and sold flour and bread and was greatly attended by Foreing picture hawkers.

There was a Betty Fisher mother to Robert Fisher brick layer who lived bottom White Horse Yard next James Lane who used to flogg in the streets of Wakefield with the Cat of Nine Tails from the prison.

Jonerthon Hartley white washor and drummer in the Wakefield Volumnturs they next house in from was Jackie Sunderland a Malster who kept his 2 beautifull Black Cursing Dogs.

To read the rest of Mr William Scarth remembering his neighbours and friends click here

This article was compiled by Kevin Scarth and Richard Bointon

Nelly Spindler

Nelly Spindler, a Wakefield girl, who nearly 100 years ago was one of the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service.  She was a young woman, a nurse, who served so close to enemy lines she  almost stood on them!

Nelly was born in Wakefield in 1891 to George and Elizabeth Spindler, the eldest of their children.  George was a policeman, serving in the Wakefield City Police Force.

By the time of the 1911 census George was now an Inspector in the City Force and ‘our’ Nelly was a hospital nurse living on Park Lane, with the Matron as head of household.

Nelly, like many other women from the area watched as young men signed up for King and Country – they had heard the call but there was also a call for women – a special type of women, specialists in their field, yes,  nurses.

Nelly answered the call and joined the QAIMNS who were mobilised very shortly after the BEF left.  These nurses initially numbered 3,000 but soon rose to over 20,000.  These young women went where ever there was a wounded soldier – in all theatres of war and in all kinds of danger.   Nelly worked at the 44th CCS (casualty clearing station) Brandhoek, Belgium.

The 44th CCS had expertise in abdominal wounds which needed immediate attention due to the amount of blood loss, high infection rate and high mortality rate.  The first day of the Battle of Passendale saw the 44th CCS overwhelmed with casualties.  Not only were they an ever growing line of casualties needing attention but the CCS was also being bombarded by enemy shells.

Sadly, her name is nearly forgotten in her home town, it is only the family/local historians and military researchers who know of her and her fellow nurses whose final resting place is in a foreign land that shall ever be British.

To read more about Nelly click here

Absent Voters list – Wakefield 1918

In the General Election in 1918 men away from their home were allowed to vote for the first time.

How? Well an Act of Parliament passed on6 February 1918 allowed service men and other men who were away from home on election day  to cast their vote in their home constituency.

Medal card index for H Siddle, KOYLI

The absentee voters had to register their applications before 18 August 1918 to be allowed to vote and the first of the Absent Voters Lists was published in October 1918.

Wakefield Family History Sharing has transcribed the Absent Voters List for Wakefield mainly as it is a very useful tool for finding a soldiers regiment and service number, be it only good for those young men over 21 years of age (men under 21 years of age were not given the vote until much later, as were women), and don’t forget the first one was in 1918, so no point in looking for a soldier before that date!

Why would I need to look on such a list.  Well, you know great uncle George served and was KIA in WW1, but what you don’t know in which branch of the armed forces he served in. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website can’t help you in your search as he has a common name, which means there are lots of entries  and some have no specific family information.  It is now that a service number and regiment comes in very handy.

What information can the Wakefield Absent Voters List tell me? Firstly, the lists are divided into Polling Districts.  Each district is then in street order and it is here you will find your man with his regiment and service number which will help you when looking on the CWGC to find the right man.

Not only will this newly found information aid your CWGC search but will also help when looking for service records, medal cards etc. Sometimes you have to go sideways to go forward!.

One thing I will mention is that it was not until c1920 that each individual service man was given a unique number.  Prior to then if a serviceman changed his regiment, he changed his number too.

You know have the information you need to find the grave or memorial of your relative and, if it survives the service records too – so if you have a WW1 soldier from Wakefield the Absent Voters List page is worth a visit.

Wakefield 1918 Absent Voters List can be found here

Leeds City Council did have a searchable version of their Absent Voters List containing over 50,000 enlisted men but unlike the Wakefield transcription there are no addresses.  For further information you have to go to Leeds Library.

Transported to Australia

Have you a convict in your tree?  If you have a bit of good luck has come your way as have made available over 42,000 records of convicts transported to the Australian penal colonies.  These new additions join a collection now in the region of over 2 million documents from the 19th century related to convicts from their arrest to release.

Ticket of leave

During an 80 year period over 160,000 men, women and children were transported as convicts and it is estimated that over 2 million Britons have one or more convicts as relatives – so why not have a look, you never know what or who you may find.

You can either read the article on the link below or follow the direct link to begin your search – happy hunting!

The article can be found by clicking here    The linked has been removed 


New South Wales and Tasmania, Convict Pardons and Tickets of Leave, 1834-1859

Free Forms & Charts for family historians

Anything that’s free is good, well most of the time.  But here are some charts and forms that you will find of use when researching your family.

To view these charts you will need a PDF reader but a free one is available for download with the charts.

Some of the charts/forms include :-  Analysis sheet; census summary; family group sheets with continuation sheet; various pedigree charts; family tree with siblings; cemetery transcription form+ others all designed to help keep some order to your research.

But talking about order don’t forget the Family History Diary a must for when you visit the archives, the library and relatives – even with a computer a Family History Diary is a must!

You can find the charts for free download here

The   Family History Diary can be found in the  shop or follow the link on the sidebar