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Sharing with a giant pig

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Sharing with a giant pig

Postby janiej » Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:50 pm

I was writing a piece about 19th Century newspapers and, to demonstrate how much you could find on a subject, I entered a completely random search on the British Newspaper Archive for 1820-1829, Yorkshire & Humber, Advertisements, "Skipton agriculture". The first hit of the four pages of results was a list of local fairs but it was the paragraph below that made me look twice. It was a story from Halstead in Essex which was so amazing that it had reached the Yorkshire newspapers. A prize Essex hog, belonging to the landlord of the Ship Inn, was not yet three years old, but stood nearly four feet high and weighed 50 stone! However it wasn't the pig that amazed me, although he was pretty impressive. It was the fact that within the next 15 years, my own great-grandfather's family had moved into the fast-expanding town and was lodging in the yard of the Ship Inn. I am left wondering whether the landlord still bred his pigs in the yard, or whether he had (hopefully) converted the pig sty for my family to live in.
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Re: Sharing with a giant pig

Postby Sylcec » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:43 pm

I agree Janie - newspapers are wonderful vehicles of family and related information. One can spend (?waste) hours following up snippets of this and that.

One of my great grandfathers was a Belgian artist, who I know went to India after 1861 and by 1864, but when? I came across one of his pictures on-line that was dated 1862 and of a fire in Antwerp - I was able to find reports of this in the British papers and notably in the Dundee Courier & Daily Argus for Dec 7th 1861 "The Great Fire at Antwerp"- what a great background for the picture, which was probably done early in 1862!
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Re: Sharing with a giant pig

Postby JaneyH » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:26 am

It was a newspaper search just over a year ago that unlocked a completely unknown chapter in the life of my great-grandfather in the 1920s. I found an article which reported a court case where his wife (my great-grandmother) had been picked up by the police while wandering the streets in a state of distress. Given that she'd had her 9th child a few months before I think it likely she was suffering from post-natal depression. She was sent to the workhouse to be cared for, since my great-grandfather was unable to. I've since visited Gloucester Archives where I've looked at the Minute Books of the Board of Guardians for the workhouse and found that as well as my great-grandmother being sent there, her children were too - including my grandfather. I also discovered that my great-grandfather had been sent to prison for not paying the maintenance he owed.

This is a very sad story, but - I guess - far from uncommon. It was difficult to share with my Mum, being one generation closer to the events. However it helped her understand why her father always said simply that he had a "difficult childhood" and never elaborated. It's certainly filled in some gaps in the story. And all because of one newspaper article!


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Re: Sharing with a giant pig

Postby coopernicola » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:22 pm

I too found an interesting family story in local newspapers. Whilst trying to find anything about my mother's favourite grandfather (after 15 years research his DoB and place of birth are still a mystery), I discovered that just after WWII he and a few friends were stopped by the police pushing a 'very heavy pram' down a street which had been recently bombed. The pram was full of bottles of gin & whiskey! The men claimed they had found the pram, and it's contents, on the bomb site and were thus let off without charge.
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Re: Sharing with a giant pig

Postby brunes08 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:27 pm

I found an account of the divorce hearing for my great grandparents in 1875. My gt grandfather was petitioning for divorce because of my gt grandmother's adultery and desertion. The bit I loved was that she had been seen "in acts of familiarity" with the co-respondent. What a wonderfully restrained way of describing her behaviour. The bit that frustrated me was that after presenting this, the lawyer for my gt grandfather said that there was more evidence. The judge said there was no need to hear it as he was quite satisfied and granted the petition. I would love to know what the other evidence was. My gt grandmother disappeared for the next thirty years and I only found her again with her death certificate.
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