This piece of news just came from TheGenealogist.
The data subscription site has just launched a new collection of Police Letter Books for Hampshire. This is an intriguing mixture of promotions, retirements, movements, and other observations about Police officers in this county from 1891 to 1911. In amongst its pages you will be able to trace the career of your Hampshire police ancestors as they rise or fall.
These records reveal names and collar numbers of officers promoted, reduced in rank or dismissed from the force for committing various acts of misconduct. The misdemeanors often seem to involve alcohol, ranging from accepting a glass of beer to being drunk on duty. For those more competent officers who were commended for their actions in the pages of these documents, you can read the actions that had been seen as deserving of inclusion in the Letter Books.
In addition, TheGenealogist has released the Colour Tithe Maps for Northumberland. These maps join the previously released greyscale maps for the majority of the country that are already published on TheGenealogist.
Contains over 600 colour maps, linking to over 62,000 tithe records for this county
These maps are a fantastic resource that enable you to see where your ancestors owned or occupied land in Northumberland
The only online National collection of tithe records and maps
The searchable schedules, or apportionment books, contain detailed information on land use and these are linked to the maps on TheGenealogist. Clicking through from the transcript to a map will jump straight to the plot for an individual and can reveal buildings, fields, houses, rivers, lakes, woods and also cover villages, towns and cities.
A case study using one of the new record sets
The Ups and Down of a life on the beat
The latest release of Police Letter Books for Hampshire is an eclectic mix of details of promotions and removals of officers (postings from one place to another), as well as recording such things as additional pay and a number of disciplinary matters that were handed out to the policemen of the Hampshire County Constabulary.
If we search for one late Victorian police officer in the records, named John William Walsh, we can see that P.C. 82 J W Walsh had set out on his employment in the force around 1893. On the 12th June of that year, our 3rd class Police Constable appears first in the Letter Books when he was being sent from headquarters to serve at Kingsclere Police station. As this officer appears no less than nineteen times in the records between 1893 and 1911, we can see that he was a career policeman having probably set his sights on progressing through the ranks. By the end of that same year, on the 8th November 1893, he had been transferred to Totton and promoted to 2nd Class Constable.
So far so good for John Walsh. In 1898 he had made 1st Class Constable and then the job took him to Brockenhurst.
January 1900 sees a blip in his job prospects when he failed his Sergeant's exam, which is duly recorded in the records - but he bounces back a few months later. By the 18th June 1900, when he gets his coveted promotion to Sergeant and is ‘removed’ to Petersfield the same day, we now see that he has been allocated collar number 14. He crops up in the Police Letter Books in a note of an entitlement to extra pay for 13 days in 1905 and then in 1906 saw him reach the pinnacle of his career as he is promoted to Inspector!
What could possibly go wrong?
These new records on TheGenealogist show that, conversely, 1906 was also the worst year for John Walsh’s path up the ranks of the Hampshire County Constabulary. Promoted to Inspector in January 1906; in October he was on the way back down!
The Police Letter book for the 18th October 1906 sadly reveals that our Inspector, of nine months, was to be reduced in ranks to that of a 1st Class Constable. This must have been devastating for him and his family as he was not just going down one rank, to Sergeant, but back to where he had been eight years before. His offence: being drunk while on duty in Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth.
A lesser man may have considered his position in the police, but not John Walsh. From the records we find the newly numbered P.C.165 removed from Bournemouth to Farringdon on the same day that he had been busted down in rank. A year later, in 1907, and he has been promoted to Sergeant for the second time in his police career. He is posted to Basingstoke with this rank with yet another change in collar number to 35. It was on the 22nd November 1911 that we see he had climbed further still. It was not quite to the rank that he had lost in 1906, but J Walsh was now a Sergeant Major in the force and was removed to Winchester.
Using these new records on TheGenealogist has enabled us to follow the ups and downs of one particular police officer who, like many of his colleagues, came a cropper through partiality to a drink. If you have Policeman ancestors from Hampshire then search this collection to find interesting mentions of them as they are removed to new stations across the county, are commended for catching thieves, receive promotions, or are sometimes disciplined for their actions.
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The Genealogist has added to the millions of its UK Parish Records collection with over 282,000 new records from Essex, Cumberland and Norfolk making it easier to find your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials in these fully searchable records covering ancient parishes. Some of the records go back as far as 1672.
Also released are another 43,000 new war memorial records.
The new release of War Memorial records means there are now over 350,0
00 searchable records. This latest release includes war memorials from
London, along with further English counties includingCumbria, Berkshire, Warwickshire and Suffolk. The collection also stretches across the globe to encompass new War Memorials situated in Perth, Australia and the Province of Saskatchewan in Canada. Fully searchable by name, researchers can read transcriptions and see images of the dedications that commemorate soldiers who have fallen in the Boer War, WW1 and various other conflicts.
In amongst these newly published War Memorial records are those from St John’s Church in Bassenthwaite, Cumbria. This is a fascinating WW1 roll with men who died or served and includes information such as that for Louis Willis Bell who died in Rouen as a result of poison gassing. Another notable entry is that for Isaac Hall. This soldier enlisted in January 1915 in 7th Border Regiment and was discharged on the 21st March 1917, because of wounds resulting in the loss of his left leg.
Example of Parish Records on TheGenealogist:
Parish Records can sometimes unearth fascinating stories
We are all aware that parish records give us those all important dates and names for our ancestors - but in some cases they reveal interesting stories as well. When a vicar, or parish clerk, feels the person they are entering in the register needs an extra explanation, over and above the date and name of the person, then some fascinating historical details can emerge for researchers to read.As an excellent example of this we can look in the parish records for All Saints Church, in Maldon, Essex. Here we find the burial of one Edward Bright in the year 1750. Edward, a Tallow Chandler and Grocer, who died when he was in his late twenties, had an unusual claim to fame.The entry in the parish register on TheGenealogist reveals that he was an extremely large man, weighing 42 stone (588 pounds) and was in fact believed to be the fattest man in England at the time.
Edward Bright by David Ogborne http://www.itsaboutmaldon.co.uk/edwardbright/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The notes for his burial on the 12 November 1750 in the parish register explain that Edward had to be buried in a special coffin as he was so large. To remove the casket from his room above his shop, special provisions were needed requiring structural modifications to the wall and stairs to aid his final journey to All Saints. Having arrived at church on a carriage, more unusual procedures were used to get the deceased to his final resting place. Edward’s coffin would have been far too heavy to be borne by pallbearers up the aisle to rest before the congregation during the funeral service. Also it would have severely taxed the muscles of those men who would have normally lowered it manually into the grave. The logistics, in this case, needed rollers to be used to slide the coffin up to a brickwork vault and then a triangle and pulleys were used to lower poor Edward into his grave.The parish register entry did, however, not just dwell on the problems of burying a man of such large proportions. It went on to also record a number of positive attributes that Edward Bright had - so giving us a picture of the man that he was. We can see that he was well thought of by the vicar and community of this 18th century Essex parish. The register tells us that he was: “... A Very Honest Tradesman.A Facetious Companion, Comely In His Person, Affable In His Temper, A Kind Husband, A Tender Father & Valuable Friend.”As we have seen here, sometimes a parish register can give you so much more than just the date that your ancestor was baptised, married or buried.https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2017/the-fat-man-of-maldon-436/