This week marks 150 years of the London Underground. The first underground journey took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan Railway on 9th January 1863.
We found this old postcard of Piccadilly Station in our UK and Ireland Historical Postcards collection which is free to search online.
Happy birthday to Elvis Presley, born on this day, 8 January, in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. Here he is on the 1940 US Census with parents Vernon Elvis and Gladys Love, aged 5.
Elvis went on to become one of the most popular musicians of the 20th century.
Elvis died in 1977, aged 42.
On this day, 8 January, in 1889, Louisa Collins was hanged in Darlinghurst Gaol, the last woman to be hanged in NSW. Dubbed as “Lucretia Borgia of Botany”, Lucia poisoned her two husbands and son with rat poison.
Here she is in the NSW, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930. Her height has been recorded as 5 foot 3 1/2 inches, with black hair and brown eyes.
Under the execution date, it is noted that His Honor the Chief Justice Darley said “I hold out a hope of mercy for you on earth”.
You may remember this time last year, we came across Santa Claus in the 1930 U.S. Census alongside his wife Mabel and 6 children.
This year, we have found Mary Christmas. A number of them in fact.
There is Mary Christmas, aged 39, on the NSW, Assisted Immigrant Passenger List, 1828-1896 with her husband Robert and 4 children including another Mary.
Then there is Mary Christmas, aged 59, from Hawthorn in Victoria who is listed in the Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903. Her occupation is shown as ‘home duties’ and she is living with Samuel Frederick Christmas, presumably her husband.
And it’s not just in Australia. Mary Christmas from Utah is shown on the 1940 U.S. Census. Kent born Mary Christmas can be found in the England and Wales, Birth Index in 1920 and Mary Christmas from Islington is included in the London Electoral Registers, 1832-1965.
Any seasonal names in your family tree? Let us know on our Facebook Wall.
Sidney Reilly, the secret agent widely believed to be the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s legendary character James Bond, has been uncovered in one of our collections.
The record (shown above) was found in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 collection, which details the medal entitlement of more than 4.8 million WWI soldiers. It reveals that Reilly’s Military Cross was issued for service in the Royal Flying Corps.
Sidney Reilly, known as the ‘Ace of Spies’, was an agent for Scotland Yard’s Special Branch who in 1918 joined Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the first director of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), as an operative for MI1 (a predecessor to MI6). His friend Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart knew Ian Fleming for many years and told him of Reilly’s espionage exploits. Later Fleming allegedly mentioned to a colleague at The Sunday Times that he had created Bond after hearing about Reilly.
In typical secret-agent fashion, much of Reilly’s life is shrouded in mystery. It is alleged that he worked undercover and stole revolutionary aircraft engine parts and weapon plans from the Germans before the First World War even began. He was then dispatched on counter-Bolshevik operations in Germany and Russia during the conflict itself.
Reilly’s medal was awarded for his “distinguished services rendered in connection with military operations in the field”, which are said to have included parachuting behind enemy lines and disguising himself as a German officer in order to obtain undercover information.
His record is one of thousands of medal cards online, revealing the medals awarded to each First World War soldier. In addition, more than 50,000 of these cards also list details of covert operations undertaken or letters from next of kin on their reverse side, meaning thousands of people today can track down find the spy in their own family.
Ancestry.com.au’s researchers have also found another interesting James Bond-related fact; Daniel Craig is actually the half 19th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, his on-screen partner in crime during the acclaimed opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Brad Argent, Ancestry.com.au Content Director for Australia and New Zealand, comments: “James Bond himself would have been proud of this discovery – uncovering the ‘real’ James Bond among the millions of World War I records online. The information contained on thousands of the medal cards available at Ancestry can help anyone find the ‘Bond’ in their own family tree.”
Census records are a wonderful resource for family historians and help you discover details like the names, ages, birthplaces, occupations and relationships of your ancestors.
Even Queen Victoria herself was included in the 1841 England Census along with Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace (record shown above). Also present in the Palace on the night of Sunday, June 6th 1841 are the Earl of Aboyne whose occupation is listed as “Lord in Waiting”, a number of Queen’s messengers, valets and footmen.
Uncover the different generations of your family in census records from England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, covering every decade from 1841-1912. Start searching.
As a nation of immigrants, most of our families have come from somewhere else. How many nationalities make up who you are? We’re keen to find stories of members with mixed ancestry showing the rich tapestry of nationalities that make up Australia and New Zealand.
If you have an interesting mix of ancestry and would like to share your story, we want to hear from you! Simply Submit Your Story and remember to add a photo of your ancestor if you have one.
Last night Ancestry.com posted images from twelve more states, bringing the total to 37 states and the District of Columbia. With 70% of the images now indexed, you’re chances are better than ever for finding family. Newly added is Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah.
Take a look at some of the notable names we found in this release.
You don’t enumerate Chuck Norris; he enumerates you. OK, so that’s probably not true. Since Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris was only 0/12 of a year old, he probably wasn’t wielding a pen, a sword, or any other weapon. But by 1950, we bet he was already kicking some butt and taking names.
Walter Cronkite was already reporting the news in 1940, working as a newspaper writer for a news service in Kansas City, Missouri. And that’s the way it is April 2, 1940.
Another award-winning newscaster was just getting his start in life. Thomas J. Brokaw is listed as a “permanent guest” in a hotel in Bristol, Day Co., South Dakota, age 1/12 of a year. We’re glad he decided to venture away from that hotel so that he could bring us the news in a career that has spanned five decades.
The “man in black” was just a boy age eight when the census taker came to call in 1940. His dad earned $140 a year as a laborer in a public school to support his wife and five children, and reported additional income, probably from the farm they lived on.
Jack Lemmon (John Uhler Lemmon III) was no grumpy old man in 1940. He was only 15 and is enumerated with his parents. His father made more than $5,000 that year as a retail and wholesale salesman in the flower industry.
As Spock, Leonard Nimoy once said, “Insufficient facts always invite danger.” We can’t tell whether it was insufficient facts or just poor recording that led the enumerator to not only list Leonard’s last name as Mimony, but to also list him as female and the “granddaughter” of the head of household (his mother Dora’s father). While not exactly dangerous, it did make it harder to locate him.
Angeline Brown, age eight, living in Edgeley, LaMoure Co., North Dakota, would not stay there for long. In 1942 the family would move to Burbank, California and Angeline would go on to become the movie and TV star that most of us know as Angie Dickinson.
The “Rhinestone Cowboy” was living on Bills Delight Road, in Saline, Pike County, Arkansas in 1940, the seventh son of Wesley and Carrie Campbell. His father, a farmer, reported working 60 hours during the week of March 24-30 of that year.
Harry S. Truman
The 33rd president of the United States was a senator in 1940, five years before being elected to the country’s highest office. He’s living in the house at 219 N. Delaware St. in Independence, Missouri—a house built by his wife Bess’ grandfather. This was the Truman family home when they weren’t living in Washington, D.C. His census record indicates that he had four years of high school. He is the only 20th century president that didn’t get a college degree.