ENG-DEV-SOUTHHAMS-L ArchivesArchiver > ENG-DEV-SOUTHHAMS > 2012-01 > 1328009328
From: Teresa Goatham <>
Subject: [SOUTHHAMS] British Newspaper Archive
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:28:48 +0000
References: <3CE5CB6458544FF296974D68F1351D51@AthlonX2260><0E97D08B60924F3C9D86DC5B39970BC1@BillPC><38CE2F191179427D97611DB4B659BB4F@AthlonX2260> <128BC3897D394CE2839F2818BEE57ECE@Oberon><0B9CD9C7BC1343E8841EE010B51146A0@AthlonX2260>
Hi Bev (and anyone else interested),
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "pity there was not more like it" but there are loads of interesting snippets in the British Newspaper Archive. If you haven't already looked it's worth doing so.
I've meant to post a bit about finding I've made their, and will in time.
Blackawton seems to have had a very good correspondent and I've found some lovely items about life in the village. I've come across them because an ancestor's brother was an innkeeper so his name
cropped up in some accounts, there must be many more where it doesn't. An account of Christmas in 1868 started "Life has revived in this village most cheeringly since the passing away of foul slanders
and base calumnies disturbed its proprieties ..." - what was this all about?!
Slanders there were nothing new. The earliest entry I've found for my ancestors there was a Blackawton blacksmith, John Bickford, putting a notice in the Sherborne Mercury in 1789 acknowledging "that
I have maliciously (and without any cause or provocation) slandered James Hambling ... blacksmith, with bad actions and things of dishonesty, which I cannot prove;" - James Hambling (a direct
ancestor) had agreed not to prosecute him if he had this published. There must be more to this story - I guess the competition between them as blacksmiths in the same village was part of it - but I
doubt I shall ever learn more.
Longest outstanding question answered: what happened to young James Hambling? - l I first looked for Hambling gravestones in Blackawton churchyard more than 30 years ago and discovered that one 6 year
old James Hambling, gt grandson of the above, sadly drowned in the Dart in Totnes. At last I know more about this - the poor boy seems to have fallen in while trying to get chestnuts from a tree
overhanging the river. What was a surprise was that it wasn't till his son had returned home by 8pm that his father got concerned and went looking for him - for a 6 year old, out alone! An excuse
maybe that his wife was gravely ill, and a daughter been buried the previous day, so I can see he could have been distracted, though there were older siblings who I'd have thought might have been
concerned about their younger brother. And of course the report may not have been accurate - I get the impression local papers have never been great at accuracy of details.
You have to try lots of searches to get the most out of the site. For some reason Hambling also returns Hambley (but not Hamblin or Hamlyn), and to be more specific I've added Christian names to
searches. But one of the drowning accounts referred to "a lad", "son of Mr Hambling" - but they did refer to the latter as gunsmith. And of course BMD notices are likely to have the name as "Hambling,
James" - and names like William may be abbreviated or not, and middle names / initial included or not. And as well as needing to remember to search for different spellings of a family surname, you
need to think about the place name - Stoke Fleming used be be written as one word, and Blackawton was frequently (usually at one time?) spelt Blackauton.
One of the most interesting items I've found relating to the South Hams involves Robert Pepperell, b c 1822 at Torcross, victualler at the Tower Inn in Slapton and his wife Mary Ann nee Soper, b c
1819 in Slapton. I've been piecing together the story of this couple and their family. If anyone has them in their tree and would like more info. do get in touch with me.
Unfortunately the BNA site isn't free, unlike some of the Australian sites you've looked at, but browsing the index is. The site is badly let down though by ocr which really isn't up to the job.
Sometimes it is understandable - a bit of a letter may not have come out, so e.g. an 'o' might look like a 'c'. Some of the papers are bound and a few words at the edge are on the curve and not
readable. But in most cases there doesn't seem a good reason.
With papers from 1750, they need to be able to cope with an 's' that looks almost like an 'f'. They don't - so far as I can tell, on a quick check, they don't at all. Yet google books can cope so the
ocr does exist to do this. So if you were looking for Luscombe in papers for roughly 1750 - 1800 you need to check for Lufcombe. While this shows quite a few Devon / West Country results, there are
probably many others missing because they're read it as something else. I don't really need to give examples because anyone searching the site will quickly see many for themselves, but one example of
how bad things can be is Ptrtftmulb for Portsmouth. Tried searching for a family name Issell in the earlier papers - looked for Iffell - loads of "false positives" that were really itself of similar.
The other problem is the end of items not being properly recognised. This means you get inappropriate headings when you do a search, which can make it hard to work out whether a page is relevant, and
if you're looking for a name and a place you can get many "false positives" as they are really in separate articles.
Hopefully these things will improve in time; it is clear that work is still going on on the site, as well as many more pages being added, so if you can resist it might be best to put off subscribing
to save re-doing searches.
I couldn't resist a sub now, though, and from all I've found relating to my family in different parts of the country, plus other articles which happen to be on the same pages, and are sometimes more
interesting than what I have gone there for, I don't regret it.
I'd be interested in hearing of others' experiences of using this site for South Hams ancestors, and any other tips on place names, searching etc.?
On 30/01/2012 22:48, B. Edmonds wrote:
> Thanks Alan,
> What a lovely bit of Info, pity there was not more like it.
>> This is not your Elizabeth LUSCOMBE, but I came across it while looking in
>> the BNA for her between 1851-1861. I've posted it anyway, as there are a
>> few details here that someone might be interested in.
>> from The Western Times, Exeter, Saturday December 9th 1854 page 2
>> THE LUSCOMBE AND BIRDWOOD FAMILIES.
>> PURSUANT to an Order of the High Court of Chancery made in the Causes
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