Digging up information about Burial Locations

Some of the diverse subjects that have been researched in the Local Studies card catalogue this week include air wrecks, monetary equivalents, the surname ‘Lomas’ and Florence Nightingale.

Cards

Florence

 

In particular though, this week, burial locations have been a frequent feature of research requests, so we thought this subject was well past its expiration date (if you’ll forgive the pun) for a mention.

In many cultures, the idea of being able to visit the physical location of a place of rest is reassuring for friends and relatives. Here’s how to make a start on searching.

Burial Registers

Burial Registers (found in parish registers) record information relating to the date of burial and the person buried rather than the location of the grave. Unlike civil cemeteries, it is unusual for churches to deposit grave registers at the Record Office, usually because they are not created in the first instance.

Memorial Inscriptions

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For some Derbyshire churchyards, groups of volunteers have created transcripts of the headstones and plaques in the church. These transcripts are known as Memorial Inscriptions, and include information only about those graves where the headstone/plaque was extant and legible at the time the transcripts were created usually, most were created in the 1990s and later. The Memorial Inscriptions do not include information about unmarked graves or graves where the headstone is no longer visible or legible.

They do also sometimes contain a very useful background to the cemetery or churchyard, and in particular these are a regular feature of the The Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group  transcripts. There may also be a graveyard plan.

Cemetery Records

Cemetery 5Cemetery 2

Cemetery Records can be tricky and a little time consuming to search as the indexes, although alphabetical, are not usually alphabetical after the initial letter.  For example, as shown above, under the ‘Hs’ you are very likely to find ‘Hewitt’ after ‘Hill.’ If the name you require is found in the Index, there will usually be a reference (normally a number and folio reference).  You then need to make a note of this in order to then search the Burial and/or Grave Register to find more details about the location. As with all records, the information provided varies from Cemetery to Cemetery.

Online Catalogue

Of course it is always worth searching our online catalogue for any information regarding graveyard plans or burials as you never know what you might unearth!

Bryan Donkin book launched

There was a great turn-out at Chesterfield for the launch of Maureen Greenland and Russ Day’s new book, “Bryan Donkin: The Very Civil Engineer, 1768-1855”. The town is rightly proud of the company that Donkin created, and the legacy of technological innovation that it leaves us.

There was a slide show, the screening of a film about Donkin’s Rose Engine (dating from 1820, now housed at the Science Musuem), and we had some of those extraordinary engineering drawings on display:

We were also lucky to hear from former Donkin managing director Terry Woodhouse, who told us about his first encounters with the DonkDonkin_launch_2in archive, which he was instrumental in preserving for future generations. Terry described just a few of the ideas that Bryan Donkin’s talents and perseverance were able to turn into a reality: a machine for making paper, the first cans for preserving food, more efficient nibs for pens, an anti-fraud device used in the manufacture of bank-notes. One can argue that Donkin has never been given full recognition for his achievements – that’s something that this book will undoubtedly address.

Palaeography course – last few places remaining!

Don’t miss out on attending our course on how to read old handwriting (the skill known as palaeography).  There are still a few places remaining, so simply click on the Events page of the blog and follow the link to the Palaeography course where you will find more information.

Make sure you check the Events pages regularly as there is always something so see and do at the record office.

Weird and Wonderful Derbyshire

Hi, I’m Hannah and I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last two weeks at Derbyshire Record Office on work experience. I already had a brief understanding of what goes on at the Record Office as my mum is one of the librarians, but I had no idea exactly what goes on behind the the scenes. The staff really do do an amazing job organising their time so that the public’s experience is as comfortable, enjoyable and useful as possible.

Earlier on in the week I was asked to look at a Local Studies inquiry that led me to the book ‘Curiosities of Derbyshire and The Peak District’ by Frank Rodgers and it absolutely fascinated me, so much so that I decided to use it as inspiration for this blog post.

Many people, including myself, don’t seem to appreciate the fact that they live in Derbyshire. Just because we don’t live by the sea, in a major city or somewhere where the sun is constantly shining, we tend to wish we lived elsewhere. However these people often don’t know how many amazing things you can find about and around the county. For one thing, The Peak District was the first national park to be set up in the UK, in 1951. Derby’s Silk Mill was Britain’s first factory and is the oldest one still standing in the world. Also I remember a while ago, my English teacher who had come over from Canada told our class that when researching Derby, she had found that it is supposedly the most haunted city in the UK! The look of shock on everyone’s faces just goes to show how much we know about where we live.

It’s the little things, that we don’t see unless we’re really looking, that I find the most interesting. For example, the top of each of the three gateposts to Ashbourne Church are supported by skulls. They are thought to be the work of Robert Bakewell, one of Derby’s finest craftsmen and are apparently meant to remind those who enter of their inevitable mortality!

Something else ‘little’ that I came across while researching, was the bull ring in Snitterton. For centuries, the cruel sport of bull baiting was popular throughout England-in fact, it was encouraged is it supposedly made the meat more tender.

bullring

The Bull Ring at Snitterton, courtesy of Picture the Past

Bulls would be chained by the leg or neck and tormented by dogs, trained to pin it by the nose-the most tender part of a bull. The Snitterton Bull Ring was preserved by the Derbyshire Archaeological Society in 1906. An old villager has memories of his father telling him how in the evenings, men would come from Winster,  Wensley and other villages to try their bulldogs against the Snitterton Bull.

The final, and probably the most interesting place I found out about was St Ann’s Well in Buxton. The well is believed to have healing powers and was visited by Mary Queen of Scott’s who suffered badly from rheumatism. How amazing would it be to go there now and

st ann's well

St Ann’s Well, courtesy of Picture the Past

know you are standing in the same spot that an ancient monarch stood in hundreds of years before? Even now, the well carries the inscription; ‘Well of Living Waters’.

So, after reading this blog post I really hope you start looking at the world around you-you never know what amazing things you might find! Also, I hope that if you ever get the opportunity to go to Derbyshire Record Office you will take it, because it really has opened my eyes and it is so so worth it.

Derbyshire Heritage Awards

I’m just finishing our submission for the Behind the Scenes category of the Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2016 (our Mining the Archives project, which you may have read about in other posts).  These annual awards are organised by the Derbyshire Museums and Heritage Forum, to celebrate all the excellent work that goes on in the heritage sector in Derbyshire.  You don’t need to be a member of the Forum to submit an entry, so if you belong to a heritage organisation and you’ve recently completed a project, why not see if it fits one of the categories?  There are six categories to choose from, including ‘Best Project on a Limited Budget’, ‘Young people in Heritage’ and ‘Best Volunteer Project’.  All the details are on the Derbyshire Museums and Heritage Forum website; the closing date is Friday 5 August 2016 and – as I have found out – the form is very easy to fill in.

We hope to see you at the Awards Ceremony at Crich Tramway Museum on Friday 7 October!

Summer Open Evening cancelled

We are very sorry to say that we have had to cancel our Summer Opening Evening scheduled for this evening.  This cancellation is due to unforeseen circumstances and were sincerely apologise to anyone hoping to attend.

We do hope to hold similar events in the future so do keep an eye on our events brochure.

Once again, apologies for any inconvenience.

A busy week with some interesting finds

As you may know we are constantly adding “new” material to our collections (some of it new, i.e. recent, especially in local studies, and some of it much older). It is rare to go more than 3 or 4 days without accessioning new material, this was a little exceptional though with 7 new and additional  archive deposits and gifts in just 2 days.

Some of this was fairly typical of the material we take in on a regular basis, for example, late 20th and early 21st century school governors minutes. Some was was a little less typical and I got a little excitable as I looked through these new accessions to produce a summary for the official receipt and online catalogue.

One of the key professional duties of an archivist is to undertake an initial assessment of material that is being offered (whether it is being offered as a donation or a deposit, where the organisation offering the records remains the owner and the Record Office acts acts the custodian). We then summarise and describe the records and record in our database where the material has come from. This is known as as the accessioning process, and also involves assigning a running number to each new accession in addition to giving it a catalogue collection number. If we already have other records relating to the same collection (for example, in the case of a parish, school or business), we use the existing “D” reference number. If this is the first accession of material for a particular collection it is also assigned the next “D” reference (we have almost reached D8000 by the way).

Once we have entered all the necessary information into the database (which may also include information about access restrictions and copyright, amongst other things), we produce an Accession Receipt for the donor/depositor to sign along with the duty archivist. Both parties then each have a copy of the receipt.

Screenshot of our internal database for recording accessions and catalogues, showing list of accessions received on 14 July 2016

The next stage is to add information about the new accession to our online catalogue so that people know what we have. Very occasionally, if the new accession is quite small and individual records easily identified, we can add individual catalogue entries for each record and assign it a unique reference number. I was actually able able to do this on two occasions this week, for new material that came in from the Parish of Draycott and a separate accession from Ilkeston St Marys Mothers’ Union.

When it is not possible for this to happen a summary of the new accession is added under ‘Description’ at home collection level entry on the catalogue until full cataloguing and number if can take place in the future. This is what I have done with the rest of the new accessions received last week.

So what new accessions did we receive this week? Can you guess which ones I was particularly excited about?

On Monday, two boxes of governors records arrived from Aston-on-Trent Primary School (ref: D6701) this was by far the largest deposit and contained a large number of documents that are not required or considered appropriate for permanent preservation in the archives. I undertook an initial assessment of which files contained archive material, returning those that didn’t to the school this week. The remaining files have now gone to be processed by our Records Assistants, checked, boxed and added to our archive strongrooms. However, as only the initial assessment has yet been completed, further appraisal will be required to identify other material within the files not appropriate for permanent preservation – for example there are a number of duplicates of items and publications from other bodies that do not relate to the school.

On Thursday, the first to arrive were were the minutes and reports from the Ilkeston St Marys Mothers’ Union, which sadly disbanded earlier this year. This material has already been fully catalogued and added to the existing collection under the reference D4603. Two deposits were received from the Parish of Wilne with Draycott, including an original Register of Apprentices for Draycott, 1804-1816 (ref: D2513/5), an apparently very comprehensive survey and valuation of the whole of Draycott, including names of owners and occupiers, produced by William Cox in 1810 (ref: D2513/6) – see images below.

The deposit for Wilne (the mother church to Draycott) was much larger and generally much more recent, including for example, Parochial Church Council minutes 1993-2004, inspection reports, inventories of 1908 and 1935 and papers relating to various works and improvements undertaken between the 1950s and 2000s  (although these latter files will be appraised further as part of the cataloguing process – see my post in February “to keep or not to keep”) – ref: D2513. The star of the accession was undoubtedly the addition of the parish copy of the Wilne Tithe Map and Award of 1847-1848. Although we already hold the Diocesan copy of these important and incredibly useful records, Wilne was one of the few Derbyshire parishes for which we were not also protecting and preserving the parish copy. Nevertheless, the parish had clearly been taking good care of it as it is in very good condition:

Parish copy of the Wilne Tithe Map and Award 1847-1848 (D2513)

We also took in a small collection of printed items (see picture above), with a couple of photographs and news cuttings, relating to William Rhodes Junior School (later, and now, Primary School), donated by a friend and former colleague of the teacher who collected them during her employment there from the late 1960s to her retirement in 1983. Although not yet fully catalogued this material has been added to collection D5234, which also includes log books and admission registers for the infants and juniors from the 1930s.

Finally, we had two donations via the British Cave Research Association Library in Ashbourne. The first consisted of the only collection of material specifically relating to the Peak Forest Mining Company, including letter books and accounts from the late 19th century (ref: D7981). This material had once been in the possession of a past member of the Association (formerly the British Speleological Association), Mr Peter Crabtree, who passed away in 2003. And it was the research and other papers of Mr Crabtree that complete our list of new accessions received  (ref: D7982).

Picturing the Past in Photos, Postcards and Illustrations

We’re often asked for images, illustrations and photographs for a variety of reasons: house or building history, planning and model making are just a few. So we thought it might be useful to list a few sources of useful information about how to access images, both online and in our collections.

Firstly, with a title including ‘Picturing the Past’ we couldn’t forget to mention the fantastic website Picture the Past which has thousands of searchable images from throughout the East Midlands.  If you are particularly taken with an image you come across, you can even have it made into a cushion cover, coaster, or mug, among other items!

The images range from the scenic

PtPbike

to the posed

Family

to the celebratory

celebration

We also have an A-Z Illustrations card index in our collection Local Studies collection which can be accessed in our Card Catalogue Room in the Local Studies Library. This contains references to photos, illustrations, postcards and other imagery. These often provide clues as to what a building may have looked like internally as well as externally, railways, mines and industry, and family and public events.

 

You can also find photographs and images in our Archives.  A search for ‘photograph’ under ‘description’ in our online catalogue revealed 633 results.

In addition, if you are looking for aerial photos, the incredibly useful website Britain from Above has some useful images from around Britain. This is one of Derby.  Let us know if you have any useful sources for illustrations, photos or other types of images!

Derby from the Air

The very civil engineer – an invitation

Donkin cover

Here at the record office we are fortunate to hold the company archive of the Bryan Donkin Company.

Bryan Donkin (1768-1855), engineer and inventor, in 1803 established engineering works, at first principally for paper-making machinery, in Bermondsey in London.  In 1819 he invented a revolution counter to record numbers of items produced. To improve security in printing banknotes etc. he developed the Donkin Pantograph Machine and the Rose Engine.

Elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1836, Bryan Donkin died in 1855. He was predeceased by his eldest son John (1802-1854) who had been a partner in the firm since 1826. The business was then carried on by the founder’s younger sons Bryan and Thomas, and by his grandson, John’s son, also named Bryan (1835-1902).

In 1889 the firm became the Bryan Donkin Company Ltd with the founder’s eponymous grandson as Chairman and another grandson, Edwin Bryan Donkin (d.1906) as Managing Director. In 1900 the company merged with Clench and Co.Ltd of Chesterfield, makers of high-speed steam engines, and relocated in 1902 from Bermondsey to works at Derby Road, Chesterfield – hence why the records are with us!

A new publication celebrating the man himself has been written by former Bryan Donkin Company employees Maureen Greenland and Russ Day.  Bryan Donkin – The Very Civil Engineer 1768-1855 will be launched at Chesterfield Library on Tuesday 19th July from 4.30pm.

You are invited to come along to this FREE event to:

  • Meet the authors and Terry Woodhouse, former Managing Director of the Bryan Donkin Company
  • View film and slide shows illustrating landmark achievements and cameos from Donkin’s life story
  • Take a look at original Bryan Donkin Company archives, including engineering drawings from Derbyshire Record Office collections
  • Light refreshments will be available

To come along to this free launch pop into Chesterfield Library (New Beetwell Street, Chesterfield, S40 1QN) to pick up a free ticket.  You can also call or email the library on 01629 533 400 or @ chesterfield.library@derbyshire.gov.uk

This promises to be a fascinating launch and we hope to see you there.