Free access to records

Read about it here

For 4 July only.

The Origins Network is offering free access to both British and
Irish Origins on the 4th July to celebrate US Independence Day.
Free access will begin at 00.00GMT and will run until 08.00GMT on
the 5th July 2006.

The Origins Network services include subscription access to
exclusive genealogy related collections on British Origins and
Irish Origins, plus expert Scottish Old Parish records research on
Scots Origins.

Reading and responding to entries in this blog

Comments on postings

In the three months since I started this blog, very few people have used the Comments feature to comment on anything I have posted here, though some have responded by private e-mail. That is rather sad, because it means that others in the family can’t see what you have written. There are actually two places where you can comment — just click where it says “Comments” at the bottom of each post.

In addition, if you look at the side bar on the right, there is also a Forum and a Guestbook. The forum option is suitable for continuing discussions on research into a particular family member, such as the mystery of Alfred John Dawson Francis and his several wives.

Of course if you want to discuss something very private, that you don’t want anyone else to read, it is best to use e-mail, but much of what we are discussing here is about people who are long dead, and so it should not be a problem.


I’ve been checking the Search facility, and find that the Search this blog one doesn’t work too well. If you want to search for something like “Alfred Dawson Francis”, enter it in the search space at the top of the page and click on Search all blogs. That seems to work better.

Telling others

If you know anyone else in the family who might be interested in a particular post in this blog, click on the little envelope icon at the bottom — a window will open in which you can enter their e-mail address, and a note on what they might find interesting.

Growdon/Growden family page, and other web updates

Growden page

I’ve updated the Growdon/Growden family page, so if you have Growden ancestors or relatives, please have a look.

My tribes

I’ve also found a replacement for my Yahoo 360 pages, which were closed in May. For a while I tried MySpace as a substitute, but it was clunky and hard to use. I’ve found something better than both of them at, where I invite you to join me. If you go there, you can see and link to the latest updates from this blog. I found it quicker, easier to use and more useful than either Yahoo 360 or MySpace.

I’ve put some of these links down the column on the right of this blog, where I hope they will be easy to find.


Some people seem to have been having difficulty in commenting on posts here.

When I’ve posted something on a branch of the family, I sometimes send an e-mail announcement to members of that branch of the family who I think might be interested. Some have replied by e-mail, which means that no one else can see it.

If you want to comment on an article here, please click on the “COMMENTS” at the bottom to add a comment, or to see what comments others have made. There are actually two places where you can do this, but the better one to use is the one that says “0 COMMENTS” (or 1, or 2). If it says “0 comments” and you add a comment there, the next person who comes along will see that it says “1 COMMENT”, and so on.

If there are more than 10 comments, it might be better to move the discussion to the Bravenet Forum, which you can see in the sidebar on the right. Just make sure you give it a clear and meaningful subject line, especially with the surname of the branch of the family, so that others can find it easily.

If you have comments or questions on this business of commenting, please click on “COMMENTS” below, and ask away or have your say!

Andrew’s Amusing Anecdotes: The Family Cottam

Looks like another Cottam family

Andrew’s Amusing Anecdotes: The Family Cottam

I wonder if there is any connection. Ours was from Lancaster, and I seem to recollect seeing a place near Lancaster with a name similar to a place in Country Durham — was it Sunderland? I’ll have to check.

Our main family history page

Just another reminder that our main family history page has moved to If you visit it, please don’t forget to sign the Guestbook!

At the old site it was linked to a family tree, but we have not managed to to that on the new site yet, but I hope to get a new one done soon.

And please leave a comment here if you have anything to add to the family news and research news we put here. What you write may help to jog someone else’s memory!

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Visit our family web pages

This blog contains mostly new family information as we find it, and so you might wonder where it fits together.

You can check our main family web pages by clicking on the image below.

Not everything is there yet, but you will find links to more family information, and places where you can see the family tree.

Growden in Canada

I know that at least one branch of our Growden/Growdon family went to Canada, and wonder if the Rick Growden mentioned in this article is a member of this family:

A wasted two years for Durham? – Jun 1, 2006

The Growden who went to Canada was James Growden (1837-?), son of Thomas and Sidwell Growden who was born in Bodmin, Cornwall, and married Harriet Baldwin of Ontario about 1860. They had eight children.

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Green, Borwick, Evans – double link?

Ione Evans of New Zealand wrote in an e-mail recently to say that there mighbe be two links between her husvand’s family (Evans, from the Falkland Islands) to the Green side. Ione is descended from Henry Green, and the new link may be to a descendant of Henry’s younger brother Edward Lister Green,

I was looking for a Hawkes Bay Green connection to write to in hopes of a picture of Edward Lister Green-when the name Palairet shouted to me! Dentons cousins daughter married a Palairet last year so I asked Brenda what Andrews parents christian names are. Yes Louisa and John Richard and they live in Hawkes Bay, and Lousas maiden name was Nation so it all fits. Am ringing them tonight.

So we await the next development with great interest.

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Cottam – a typo spotted

I just had an e-mail from Rick Cowey, whose eagle eye had spotted a typo in the birthdate of one of the Cottams — Mary, daughter of Richard Cottam and Margaret Bagot. I had her birth date as 1858, when it was actually 1830, and once the right birth date was there, a lot of other things fell into place, like her marriage to John Worrall, and her children. Rick also kindly sent me images of her appearing on the 1841 and 1881 censuses, the first in Manchester, and the second in Middlesex, where the family moved to in the mid-1860s.

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Falkenberg breakthrough – after 30 years

When we first started doing family history, soon after we were married, we asked Val’s grandmother, Emma le Sueur about her ancestors. She often couldn’t remember their names, but she remembered what they had died of and what pills they took. But she did tell us that her mother was Jessie Falkenberg and her father was Edward Decker (and that he had died when she was about 8, at Covimvaba).

About a year later, with special permission from the magistrate (I was banned at the time) we went to Cape Town on holiday, stopping to visit relations and do family history on the way. We visited Violet McDonald, a Growdon relative, in Queenstown, and spent a morning looking through the parish registers at St Michael’s Anglican Church, and right away got lucky. We found not only Growdons, but Falkenbergs as well. lots of them. Jessie Decker, nee Falkenberg, was there, though it turned out that her full name was actually Justine, along with several brothers and sisters. Her father was Michael John Christian Falkenberg, and her mother was also Justine, alias Jessie.

We recorded all this, and went on to Cape Town, where in the archives we found more about them in death notices and immigration lists.

Michael John Christian Falkenberg came from Germany in 1858, with his wife Dorothea and 3-year-old son Friedrich. But at some point his wife had died and he had remarried to Justine Schultz, who had come over on the same ship with her family, but was 9 years old at the time. He married her when she was about 15, but we still have not been able to discover where.

On our way home again we called at Stutterheim, and there found a grave for a Frederike Falkenberg, born Luthow. The age was right, so could she have been Michael John Christian Falkenberg’s first wife? But the name was different — Dorothea/Frederike?

We traced descendants of both wives. But ancestors were harder. They were in East Germany, and the government there did not encourage genealogical research, and communication was difficult. But a Mr Hans Georg Bleibaum in West Germany was interested in South Africa-Germany connections, and offered to help. He sent a parcel of groceries to an East German researcher, who found the Schultz ancestors, and then a Martin Schultz who married a Marie Payard and traced the Payard side back to the Huguenots in the 17th century.

But the Falkenberg side was a dead end.

Then, last week, along came Peter Woddow. He asked in a South African genealogy mailing list about Germans from the Ueckermark who had settled in South Africa. I mentioned the Falkenbergs to him, and within a short time he had confirmed for us that Frederike and Dorothea Falkenberg, born Luthow, were one and the same person, solving the mystery of the grave we saw in Stutterheim more than 30 years ago.

And now he has given the parents, brothers, and sisters of Michael Johann Christian Falkenberg, which we had despaired of ever finding.

Oh, incidentally, on our trip in 1975, we also visited King William’s Town and found the baptism of Val’s grandmother’s father, who turned out to be Edwin, not Edward. Edwin Robert Morton Decker, to be precise.


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