Monday, July 27, 2009

A mounting tide of irritation!

Last February, I noticed that I could get all I wanted from my ISP, Demon, by using their Demon Home 8000 service rather than my current service, Demon Home Office 8000. Thus saving £4 a month! I wrote to them and they sent me the paperwork which I completed and sent back. And thought nothing more of. In May, I switched credit card numbers and noticed that they were still charging me for the Home Office service. I told them and they asked for a copy of my original paperwork. I sent it in.

On July 14th, we had a power interrupt during a thunderstorm. The computer went off, but the router didn’t. Later that day, I noticed I had no broadband connection. The next morning I spoke to the Demon Help Desk. I have always found them to be very helpful, and at the price of a local rate phone call, very cheap.

After checking I had all the correct things set, username, password and so on, they said it was my router. I then spoke to the router people, Draytek. They said it didn’t seem to be the router, but as it was 6 years old, it would probably be a good idea to get a new one. I popped into Truro (using my free bus pass!) and bought one.

Started setting up the new router using the disc supplied by Belkin. This had a set-up wizard, so I used that. The details I inputted were from the previous router, already checked as correct by Demon. The start-up Wizard failed, sticking on the 6th of 6 steps. On the phone again, this time to Belkin. Set up the router using the browser. Nice and easy, except that I couldn’t make a web connection.

Back to Demon. They didn’t know anything about Belkin of course; but we went thru’ the whole rigmarole again and again. Username, password, email address etc, etc. No joy. Finally, they declared that it was a BT line fault, involving my local exchange. This would take 24-48 hours. As I was going away the next morning I decided to leave it for now. In the event, I accessed my email over the weekend using Demon Webmail. I also have a Googlemail account.

On my return home, I took up the phone again with Demon. Every time I contacted the Help Desk I had to go over the whole problem; the notes they are supposed to make don’t seem to avoid having to do this. Eventually they decided it was another BT line fault (they had supposedly fixed the first one) and this time it would take up to five days. I just gave up.

The next day, they phone me – made a change. The gentleman calling identified himself as the BT Line fault guy. It was not a line fault he said. He gave me a new username and said that he was sure it would work. And it did. I had my broadband connection back after 8 days. Why was my username changed? He didn’t really know he said. Nor did he know why the numerous so-called “advisors” I had spoken to hadn’t known either.

So – everything fixed. Of course not. I could not connect to collect emails by my email programme, or by webmail. In both cases, the Demon server said the passwords were wrong. Back on the phone – passwords re-set – still no joy. Whilst waiting for something, I idly sent myself a test message from my Googlemail account. It bounced – domain not known! Back on the phone; and then it dawned on them, someone somewhere had changed my domain name by adding a 1 at the end of Medeschole. It wasn’t the passwords after all.

Although I can’t get them to admit it, what I believe happened was that the change of service from Home Office to Home involved a change of username. They made this change and told no one including their own Help desk. Some days after this change, they also changed the domain name. Once again, they didn’t pass this change on to anyone. I subscribe to a number of mailing lists and companies. All of these are now broken because of the change of domain name.

The Demon Help Desk is helpful but you can’t help feeling that they know little about Apple computers (although they are supposed to be the UK ISP of choice for Apples). And of course, they are based in India or somewhere and English is not their first language. I could hear myself getting more and more irritated!

I am now looking for a new ISP – any ideas?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Change of course - again

"Parrot with hammer". By Jamie, 2 years old, completed in about ten seconds. Nothing to do with anything really.

Hello folks

With the ending of my assocation with Free Census, the main reason for this blog disappeared. I had thought to change it to Tales from the past, but it is too much like hard work.

So, I am just going to use it as a pulpit to get things off my chest. Mainly about Cornwall of course.

However, if anyone wants to send in a Tale from the past, I would be only too happy to accommodate them and publish it.

Rgds from a sunny Cornwall


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tales from the Past No 5 - Joseph Ward

Tales from the Past – Joseph Ward one of Cornwall’s first Police Inspectors

Joseph is my Gt. Gt. Grandfather on my Mum’s side and it’s his fault that I got involved in the Cornwall Online Census Project and later took on the OPC role for Gerrans – hence he has a great deal to answer for!

Joseph was born in Gerrans and was baptised there in Dec 1822, the son of Richard Ward, a labourer, and Harriet Sawle. I really don’t know much about his early years other than a sentence in his obituary saying that “…in early life took to the sea. Not liking this he entered the Metropolitan Police Force. ” That probably explains why I haven’t been able to locate him in the 1841 census as he was probably on a boat somewhere.

He’s still a sailor when he marries Jane Broad Collett in Aug 1850 in Philleigh but 8 months later in the 1851 census he’s a policeman in Kenwyn so according to his obituary he must have already been through the Met. Police in London. His wife was not with him in 1851 but staying with her parents in Philleigh, possibly because she would have been pregnant with Eliza Jane, her first child. Pregnancy seems to have become an almost full time role for her as she produced 10 children over 15 years:
Eliza Jane (1851), Ellen (1853), Richard John (1854), Joseph (my Gt. Grandfather, 1856), Alfred (1857), James (1859), William Henry (1861), Peter Collett (1863), Albert (1865) & Arthur (1866).

While Jane was busy with the children, Joseph was busy with police matters and his name crops up several times in the West Briton e.g.

TRURO POLICE (extract from West Briton 18th March, 1853) On Monday last, John WEST, who lives near Malpas, was charged with being drunk and assaulting policeman WARD while in the execution of his duty. Between nine and ten o'clock on Saturday night, the policeman saw the prisoner lying drunk on the pavement outside the Devon and Cornwall Bank in Boscawen Street. He got him up and advised him to go home, on which the prisoner struck him three or four times. He was fined 5s. and costs, or one month's imprisonment.

TRURO POLICE (Extract from West Briton, Friday August 19, 1853) On Monday last, John TRESIDDER, labourer, of Kenwyn Street was charged with stealing apples from the garden of Mr. John TICKARD, of Trehaverne. He was fined 40s., or in default to be committed for two months to hard labour. Tresidder was also charged with assaulting policemen WARD and PRATER, while in the execution of their duty. He was fined 40s., or one month's hard labourer for assaulting Ward, and the same penalty for assaulting Prater. George PAPPIN was charged with attempting to rescue Tresidder when in custody, and also with assaulting Policeman Ward and Prater. When in the execution of their duty. He was fined 40a., or one month's hard labourer, for each assault, and was ordered to find sureties to keep the peace for six months.

TRURO POLICE (extract from West Briton, Friday October, 21, 1853) CATHERINE BROWN, 46, was indicted for obtaining from Mary GLUYAS the sum of 2s. 7d., by falsely pretending that a compound metal ring she sold to her was gold. Mr. CHILDS conducted the prosecution. Mary Gluyas is a servant with Mrs. MUDGE, of Truro, and said that on Wednesday, last week, prisoner came to the back door of the house, and offered to sell her a ring, which she said was gold. She asked 3s. 6d. for it, but said she was in distress, and ultimately sold it for 2s. 7d. The ring was produced in court by police constable WARD, and was stated by Mr. W.B. SHAW, goldsmith, of Truro, to be made of compound metal, and that such rings were sold for 8d. or 9d. a dozen. Verdict, Guilty. Another indictment of the same nature was preferred against the prisoner, for obtaining 1s. 9d. from Sibella DUNGEY, of Truro, by selling her a ring of compound metal, which she falsely pretended was gold. Verdict, Guilty. A third indictment against the prisoner for selling a similar ring for gold to Eliza TREGANOWAN, of St. Clement, for 3s. 6d. was on the calendar, but was not proceeded with. Four Months’ Hard Labour.

Joseph moved from Truro to Camborne which is where the family were when my Gt Grandfather (Joseph) was born in 1856. A year later the Cornwall Constabular Force was formed and Joseph was appointed an Inspector – initially in Liskeard and from August 1857 in Penzance. This is Joseph in his rather stylish inspector’s uniform:

In Penzance he and Jane continued to raise their expanding family until tragedy struck when Jane died on Christmas Eve 1867, just 2 weeks after the birth of Arthur. Her death was recoded as being due to “Chronic disease of knee joints and tubercular disease of lungs”. This left Joseph with 10 children to raise on his own and his own health was probably already deteriorating as on 31st Oct 1869 the Chief Constable issued the following bulletin:

“The Chief Constable informs the force that Inspector Ward has now been compelled from ill-health to retire from the service, and would now record his great regret at losing the services of this officer who was one of the first to join the Force on its formation, has served the County faithfully for 12 years and leaves the Force with an exemplary character.

The Chief Officer takes this opportunity of laying before the officers of the Force the scheme by which he determined the gratuity awarded to Inspector Joseph Ward and which he proposes to carry out in similar cases of retirement – as to gratuities to officers of good character compelled by ill heath to leave the Force before completing 15 years service and recommended by the Chief Constable for gratuity.
1) up to 10 years service he shall receive a month’s pay for each year’s service
2) after 10 years service and up to 15 years service, he shall in addition receive at the rate of 2 months pay for each year of good service.”

Thus I infer that Joseph was the first member of the Cornwall Constabulary to be retired through ill health as the Chief Constable had to make up the pension rules for him! His police record shows that he received a gratuity of £105 1s 3d out of the superannuating fund.

Just over a year later Joseph was dead from TB and he was buried in Gulval on 30th Nov 1870. His obituary read as follows:

Death of Mr. Joseph Ward, late of the Cornwall County Constabulary
November 27th, 1870, aged 48 years
Hundreds of persons who knew Inspector Ward first at Truro, then at Camborne, then at St. Just, and last at Penzance will regret to hear of his death, at the latter town on Sunday evening, of haemorrhage of the lungs age 48. Mr. Ward we believe was a native of Gerrans and in early life took to the sea. Not liking this he entered the Metropolitan Police Force and afterwards held a similar situation in Truro. He then removed to Camborne where he was engaged by the parish prior to the establishment of the local constabulary. On the formation of this body he was made an inspector, soon afterwards was transferred to St. Just and, eventually was placed in Penzance with a view to aid him to recover broken health. There his wife died leaving 10 young children. Gradually Inspector Ward’s strength failed owing to repeated bleeding from the lungs and becoming incapacitated from active service he received a gratuity of a hundred guineas from the county, and resigned. For two years since then he had lingered until he succumbed on Sunday to a violent and protracted attack.
At Camborne and St. Just when a policeman was a novelty, and some of the rougher sort, especially on pay days, relished a set to with the man in blue, Inspector Ward had hard times of it occasionally, yet he gained not only the confidence of his superiors, but the goodwill of those who at first looked on him as an enemy. His quiet but firm demeanour, his discharge of his duty without the least appearance of meddling, and his neighbourly conduct, joined to sympathy for his position when sickness fell on him and deprived him of his helpmeet, made for him a host of friends and well-wishers who will regret to hear that his large family are now orphans.

Joseph’s police record describes him as follows:
Height: 5ft 9in. Visage: Long, Complexion: Fresh, Eyes: Hazel, Hair: Brown
…that just about describes me and my facial profile is very similar to his. I’d also very pleased with myself if I could live up to the qualities described in his obituary!

Posted by Bill O'Reilly - UK

Tales from the Past - Thomas Rielly

Thomas is my Gt. Gt. Grandfather and a bit of a thorn in my side! He was born about 1836 somewhere in Ireland. He attested for the army in Kilrush, Co Clare in 1853 stating that he was from Tulla in Co Clare but researchers in the area confirm that there were no Rielly, Reilly or any other spelling (with or without the ‘O’) families in that area so “Thanks a bunch Thomas” for leaving me this brick wall.

Thomas served with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment and the Royal Artillery for 21 years. Between 1854 and 1855 he saw service in the Crimea and was at the siege of Sevastopol. There he was awarded the English medal for the Crimea with clasp for Sevastopol and also the Turkish medal for the Crimea. The medals have not survived within the family and I recall my Dad saying that they had probably been pawned by his grandfather

Thomas served with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment and the Royal Artillery for 21 years. Between 1854 and 1855 he saw service in the Crimea and was at the siege of Sevastopol. There he was awarded the English medal for the Crimea with clasp for Sevastopol and also the Turkish medal for the Crimea. The medals have not survived within the family and I recall my Dad saying that they had probably been pawned by his grandfather

After the hell of the Crimea he returned to Ireland and spent a couple of years based in Dublin at Pigeonhouse Fort before being shipped off to India. He was in India between 1857 and 1859 no doubt addressing another aspect of British history, the Indian Mutiny.

Somewhere along the way he married Maria Mooney but I’ve never found out when or where. Tracing Irish marriage records is not easy unless you happen to know which church they married in! I suspect he married while he was in Dublin but there are quite a few churches in Dublin and I’d probably need to spend at least 2 weeks researching in Dublin in order to have a chance of locating the record.

Thomas & Maria’s firstborn was Christopher William, my Gt. Grandfather (see photo), who was born in about 1861 in Madras. Does that make me Indian?

Next came Alfred in about 1866 in Secunderbad and then John in about 1868 somewhere in India.

By 1869 he and his family were back in Ireland and Elizabeth was born in 1869 while he was back at Pigeonhouse Fort followed by Sophia in 1871 when they were based in Athlone. At about that time he seems to have switched regiments again as in Sept 1872 he was serving with the Coast Brigade when he rescued Lizzie McFadden by jumping into the water (the Shannon) and bringing her to the surface. She was ‘insensit’ and he rolled her on the grass to bring her round. For his efforts he was awarded a testimonial on vellum by the Royal Humane Society. The rescue was witnessed and reported by the Horse Guards who received a reward. I hope Thomas received more than a piece of nice paper for his efforts!

In October 1874 he was discharged from the army in Belfast and appears to have relocated to Newcastle on Tyne where Henry was born. By March 1878 he was working as a labourer in Newcastle when Joseph arrived and in the1881 and 1891 census records he was a labourer living in Elswick in Newcastle. In the 1901 census he was a ‘labourer in Elswick Works’ which later became known as Vickers Armstrong – manufacturers of military ordnance.

Thomas’ obituary appeared in the Illustrated Chronicle in Newcastle on 25th Jan 1912,
“Mr Thomas Riley, one of the oldest members of the Northumberland Veterans' Association, died at his residence, 932, Scotswood Road, Newcastle, yesterday, after a brief illness.
Mr Riley had a distinguished military record, having served in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, and later in the Royal Artillery for a period of over 21 years. He was one of the veterans who were inspected by King George V., when, as Prince of Wales, he visited Newcastle in July 1908.

Mr Riley served throughout the Crimean campaign with the Royal Irish Regiment, and was present at the siege of Sebastopol. He was in possession of the Turkish medal for the Crimea, the medal for long service and good conduct, and also a testimonial from the Royal Humane Society, awarded to him on Jan 16, 1873 for gallantry in saving life.

He was a fine specimen of the Crimean veteran, standing nearly 6 feet high. His photograph was presented to Col. R.O. Kellett and officers of the Royal Irish Regiment by special request some time ago. An enlargement was made and framed with a small tablet attached, setting forth Riley's record of services to his country, and by command of the present commanding officer of the regiment was placed in a prominent place in the regimental institute.

The funeral takes place at Elswick Cemetery on Sunday.” I’ve tried to locate that framed photograph but I suspect it was consigned to the skip when the regimental institute was closed. It certainly never made it to the regimental museum in Ballymena.

Thomas was certainly given a good send off! His coffin was borne through the streets of Newcastle on a gun carriage and he buried with military honours in Elswick.

So this is my one and only link with Ireland and unless there is a minor miracle I suspect it will continue to have that status.

People often assume that with my surname I must be Irish but that really isn’t the case. My Dad was born in Newcastle and his family came from Ireland, India and Somerset; my Mum came from Barnsley but her ancestors came from Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cornwall. So am I Irish, Indian, Cornish or whatever? I don’t know – but I do know that I’m from the Isle of Wight!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tales from the past No 2 - Cornelius Delaney

One of my paternal great great grandmothers, Mary Vaughan, sticks out like a sore thumb on the English census returns, because she was born in Gibraltar. She was married to Thomas Vaughan, born in Ireland about 1827. When I obtained a copy of her Irish marriage certificate, I discovered that she was the daughter of Cornelius Delaney, who was described as a pensioner.

I posted a message to the Delaney message board and to my surprise, got an immediate response from two Australian ladies. Cornelius had gone to Australia in 1850 and I had suddenly acquired lots of Australian relatives.

Cornelius had gone to Tasmania in 1850 as an Enrolled Pensioner Guard on the convict ship Rodney. He was listed as being late of the 94th Regiment of Foot. With this vital piece of information, I engaged a researcher to look for his Army records at Kew.

He had enlisted in 1824 at Borris-in-Ossery, in what was known as Queens County. He was born about 1800 in Aghaboe, which is near Borris. When I visited there in 2005 I found a ruined abbey, a church and 3 houses. The researcher found his record of service and in 1825, the year Mary Vaughan was born, he was in Gibraltar. Searching the parish registers of the only Roman Catholic church in Gibraltar in 1825 (courtesy of the LDS) I found that Mary was the child of Cornelius and Sarah Delaney.

Baptismal entry for Mary Delaney (click to enlarge)

I know nothing else of Sarah and do not know if Delaney was in fact her maiden name. They had a son two years later, but no further trace of him was found. What I know of Army wives at that time is based on reading the Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. I understand that a battalion was allowed a limited number of “official” wives on foreign service, but there was usually a number of “unofficial” wives. So Cornelus might, or might not, have been married to Sarah.

However, by 1832 he was in Malta and married to Margaret Horan. In 1835, they had a daughter Catherine, born on board ship, offshore Malta. At that time they were on their way to India. Cornelius only served in India for just over a year and in 1836 he was probably back in Ireland. He was in India long enough to get busted from Sgt to Private for being drunk on a bathing parade. Don’t ask.

In 1840 he was discharged on a pension of 6 pence a day because of ill health. He had scurvy and was suffering from arthritis. I don’t know what he did then but the British government maintained Army units of reservists and pensioners to maintain civil order, this was the time of the Irish famine.

In 1850 he sailed to Tasmania on a convict ship. On arriving in Hobart he was appointed as a police constable. This was not unusual for guards. He was granted some land, about 7 acres. After less than a year, he resigned from the police and in 1857 the whole family, plus a new ex-convict son-in-law, sailed to Victoria.

When he arrived in Hobart he had his wife Margaret with him and several daughters. Cornelius and Margaret seem to have had 4 daughters after Mary Vaughan, but I only know of two survivors, Margaret and Catherine. These two ladies produced over 20 children between them, most of them survived and so I have lots of Australian cousins.

Catherine Delaney in Sidney about 1913.

Cornelius lived a long life, dying in 1895 in Hesket, Victoria. When he died he was missing a leg and one eye. Family legend had it that he had been injured in the Crimean War, but he was in Tasmania at the time!

[I gained much information from Cornelius' Australian Death Certificate. He HAD married Sarah in 1819 but the informant didn't know her surname. He married again in about 1823. The certificate listed 5 children, 3 of them alive, one of them my gggmthr in England. The Australian branch obviously knew of her]

Tales from the Past No 3 - Sarah Stapleton

My grea-grandmother, Sarah Stapleton, lived a hand-to-mouth existence typical of that of many women of the time, but she must have been a toughie, as she managed to survive to the age of 75.

She was born on 7 Novemeber 1837, the daughter of William and Ann of Norwood, St Mellion, and was baptised in the village church. It's possible that the Rector mis-recorded the name of her father, as she appears in the 1841 Census with a couple called John and Ann. He was no different to most of the rest of my ancestors, being recorded as an 'Agri Lab', but by 1851 he had become a delightfully-named 'Poper'(so much better than the correct spelling). He died in December 1856, aged 65, and was buried at the Parish Church.

Sarah continued to live at Norwood and in 1861 she was with her widowed mother and older sister in the next household to her future in-laws, who were living at Thrustles Nest which was also near Amy Tree in St Mellion. Her mother died the following year, by which time Sarah had given birth to her son, Lewis. His father is unknown, but he lived with my great-grandparents, Stephen and Sarah Barrett, as their son for several years. There might be a clue in the fact that he was baptised in South Hill on 12 May 1861, at which time Stephen was a carter for the Symons family in that Parish. The couple must have known each other since childhood.

Stephen had grown up at Thrustles Nest, which is now in ruin. The small cottage(s) must have been both isolated and over-crowded, as two large families lived there for several years.

Sarah married Stephen at Liskeard Register Office on 15 August 1863, at which time she was living as a domestic servant at Cadson, near Callington. It's likely that a church wedding had been refused!

The marriage lasted under 16 years, during which time the growing family moved to Todsworthy in Calstock, home to several agricultural labourers and where Stephen died of pneumonia in March 1879. Sarah was left with a young family including my grandfather, William, aged just two. It's hardly surprising that some of the children moved away. Son Lewis went 'up country' (could mean anything to a Cornishman!) and his brother John ('Jack') ended up in Negaunee, Michigan, along with many other Cornishmen and where he died in a mine accident in 1914. He had survived his mother by less than a year, as Sarah died on 1 May 1913.

John had remained in contact with his family and they received photographs of his children and ultimately his grave, presumably sent by his wife, Mary Louisa, who survived until 1945.

Between the death of her husband and her own, Sarah moved to wherever a member of her family could find work, including living briefly in Plymouth. However, she had returned to Albaston, of which Todsworthy forms a part, by 1909 and was one of the first recipients of the five shillings a week Old Age Pension. (Photograph attached, Sarah is seated second from left. Click to enlarge)

I wonder what she'd think of her great-grand-daughter's comparatively easy life?