London Parish Registers Archives

Three Photographs

 

We were recently asked if we could help discover more about a photo of a lady in a wedding dress. Barbara Willis looks after the photo collection at the Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne, Dorset. She explained that some years ago they had been given three photos and a dress by a local lady. The dress is a long gown with a print of pink and gold flowers. Luckily, the photos had been labelled on the back. Wouldn’t it be good if all our ancestors had taken the time to do that? The dress had been featured in an exhibition of wedding dresses at the Museum and Barbara wanted to know if it would be possible to find out a little more about the people in the photos, especially the lady in the dress.

 

Barbara Budden wedding dress 8.10.38

 

 

 

Father Mother Dorothy Blake & Barbara. Just before 2nd war at Acton. Parents Golden Wedding anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 1920 Constantinople. Capt E J B Budden Middlesex Regt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, we had a date in 1938 and what we thought was a fairly uncommon surname. The people at the Museum thought the donor of the items was a Mrs Blake-Budden, but there is no birth, marriage or death to be found in the indexes of general registration for anyone with the surname Blake-Budden. As the group photo referred to Blake and Barbara, perhaps there were the forenames of the couple. Disappointingly, there were also no entries in the indexes for a man called Blake Budden.

A search for the marriage of anyone called Barbara to a man with the surname Budden met with more success. There were only two during the 1930s and one of these was for a groom with the same initials as the soldier photographed in Constantinople. Eustace J B Budden and Barbara S Budden married in Chelsea registration district in the December quarter of 1938. The surname Budden is apparently much more common that we had first thought, especially in the Dorset area. Perhaps the couple were cousins. We could conduct further searches in the future to check that out.

Eustace James B Budden was born in the Brentford district in 1891. We also found his baptism online at ancestry.co.uk, which confirms that his full name was indeed Eustace James Blake Budden, christened on 15th September 1891 at St Mary’s, Acton. He was the son of Robert Blake and Edith Westaway Blake, of 5 Rosemont Road. Perhaps he preferred being called Blake rather than Eustace!

The family was found in the census of 1891 living at Rosemont Road, in 1901 at Florence Road, Ealing, and in 1911 at 43 Corfton Road, Ealing. They were all Londoners and Eustace was their only child. The parents, Robert Blake Budden and Edith Westaway Force, married in 1890 at Brentford.

Budden household 1911, 43 Corfton Road, Ealing

The 1911 census described Blake as “Student, University College”.  From an online list of all graduates from 1836 to 1926, we found that Blake obtained his BSc at University College London and appears to have graduated as late as 1919, with the Great War interrupting his studies. There is a World War I medal card for him, also available through Ancestry which confirms that he was a captain in the Middlesex Regiment.

 

The National Archives holds an officer’s record file for him  (WO 374/10605). It tells us that Blake was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 1910, after serving in the Officer Training Corps whilst he was at Repton School. At the outbreak of war, he was on an extended stay in Frankfurt and was taken prisoner there in August 1914. He saw no active service, remaining a prisoner for the duration of the War and was repatriated shortly after the Armistice in November 1918. Soon after his capture, his father, Robert, wrote to the War Office to enquire whether there was any possibility of Blake being included in an exchange of British nationals, suggesting that his knowledge of languages would make him a useful officer if only he could be released. After the war, Blake served as a Railway Traffic Officer with the Allied Forces of Occupation in Constantinople. He relinquished his commission in 1922 and travelled back to Britain on the Orient Express.

 

Barbara Sloggett Budden’s birth was registered in the March quarter of 1900 in the Christchurch district of Dorset. Her death in Bournemouth in June 1990 gives the exact date as 30 January 1900. She donated the dress and photos to the Museum just two years before she died.

Barbara’s family were living at Boscastle, Iddesleigh Road, Bournemouth in 1901 and 1911. Her father, Horace, was a merchant tailor and her older sister, Dorothy, was still at home in 1901. By 1911 she was living with relatives in Hammersmith. Horace Budden had married Laura Evangeline Anderson in Brighton in 1889.

As Robert Blake Budden died in 1932, at the age of 77, in Brentford district, the group photo must be of Barbara’s parents’ golden wedding anniversary, rather than Blake’s.

Apart from Blake’s service record, which we copied at The National Archives,  the rest was all discovered during an evening’s browsing on the internet.

Diary Dates for 2011

I am giving the following family history talks during 2011. All are welcome to attend. Please click the links for more details.

Wed 11 May 7.30pm

Woolwich Family History Society DNA Tests for Family Historians

Wed 18 May 2pm

Society of Genealogists Parish Registers and Parish Chest Records Online

Sat 28 May 10.30am

Society of Genealogists

I’m Stuck

Sat 4 Jun 10.30am

Society of Genealogists My Ancestor Came From London

Tue 21 Jun 7.15pm

Shropshire Family History Society Finding Living and Missing People

Wed 19 Oct 2pm

Society of Genealogists

Tracing Living Relatives and Missing People

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New Ways to Find Your London Ancestors

Probably the most notable thing to happen in the world of family history in the past couple of years has been the appearance of so much new information on the internet. This is not a completely new thing, of course. Online genealogical listings and indexes have been around almost as long as the internet. Anything which makes searching easier and more accessible to family historians is clearly a good thing and as a result, more people are now tracing their ancestors than ever before.

But we are always told that we should treat these secondary sources of information with caution. A secondary source may be described as anything which does not show you the original document, as it was recorded at the time the information was provided. This might be an entry in a parish register, a page in a census or maybe a will or marriage licence allegation.

What is so exciting about recent developments on the internet is the huge number of original documents we can now examine, often at a modest cost of course, from the comfort of our own homes.

The most significant of these collections for anyone with London ancestors  has to be the collection of parish registers held by the London Metropolitan Archives  which has recently been digitised in partnership with Ancestry.  London has always been a difficult area for research, with its high density of population, huge number of parishes and the surprising mobility of its inhabitants. Being able to search a significant number of these parishes online, for your ancestor’s baptism, marriage or burial has made it possible to find much more about these Londoners than ever before.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect and there are still some problems to overcome. Not all London parish registers in the LMA’s collection have yet been included. Some images are online but have not yet been indexed. Sometimes the indexing will include errors and omissions – hardly surprising when you think of the enormous volume of work involved and see the damaged state of some of the registers and the difficult handwriting they contain. Many registers have fallen victim to the Blitz or the Great Fire and do not even survive at all. Burials in the Capital are often particularly difficult to locate, with many graveyards becoming full and increasingly unsanitary much sooner than those in the provinces.

If your London ancestors  are still proving to be elusive, perhaps we at GSGS can help you. There may be other sources we can use or alternative methods of searching. We are always happy to talk over your particular problem and suggest a possible solution. Contact us  either by phone or e-mail to see how we can help.

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