Sunday, 8 July 2012


As I watched the cricket from England last night, my thoughts wandered to which of our ancestors might have seen the view over the River Wear in Durham that was offered during quiet moments in the match. I could recall at least one marriage that occurred in the parish, so there must have been other events in the same area.

Church of St Mary & St Cuthbert
Chester-le-Street, Durham
Marriage of Thomas Lloyd and Jane Cook
6 July 1872

Even though I subscribe to the view that our family history is shaped as much by the where as the who and the when, it still takes a determined effort to avoid always adopting a person-centred approach.

Fortunately my software of choice (Gramps) provides strong tools for collecting and managing information about places.

Once you have entered the latitude and longitude data, the software will call up a map (in your choice of service, such as Google or Open Street Map) centred on that location.

From there you can easily determine that from the church (pink marker) it is a scenic 15 minute walk to the Riverside (purple). Although in 1872 Thomas LLOYD and Jane COOK would have known the area as the grounds of Lumley Castle, since the cricket ground of that name was not established until 120 years later.

Census data provide important sources of location-based information. In 1871, Thomas had been living with his mother at Pelton Fell (green marker) approximately 4 kilometres west of the town centre. By 1881, he and Jane had three children (including our 2xgreat grandmother Mary Ann LLOYD) living at Twizell Lane (marked in red) nearly 7 kilometres from Chester-le-Street. This westward movement probably reflects the expansion of the coal mines in which Thomas worked.

Looking backward to Thomas' birth in 1851 at Felling, we find that he had not moved far in the first 36 years of his life.

What must he have thought of a journey that would take him to the goldfields of Gympie, retirement in suburban Brisbane, and finally burial at Bald Hills in Moreton Bay Region.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...