Wednesday, 21 April 2010

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE...the last bit for now.............

Hooray I hear you shout!

I'm sorry if this has been boring for some, but again thank you to those who have shown an interest.  This is the last post about my father's side of the family, although my research will go on.

Well the Isle of Sheppey.... I do have to confess I was rather surprised when I found where we were actually going. Obviously geography is not my strong point as I thought it was off the south coast!! 

Like a lot of seaside places on first impression it looked a bit old and faded, and my sister and I wondered what we had let ourselves in for. However the hotel looked pretty impressive from the outside and we couldnt have been made more welcome when we booked in.
We lost no time in showing the landlord and some of the staff the census forms we had showing various addresses in the hope that at least some of them still remained and were pleasantly surprised to find that one of the staff had lived on Sheppey all her life and not only knew how to direct us but also gave us ideas where we might find more information

Our hotel

Our first port of call was to the High Street where apparently our great grandfather had an Inn. In 1901 it covered no.s 204 to 212, so was quite a size. The land where nos 204 to 208 stood is now the local fire station, but at least the remaining part is still an inn and we were able to have a drink here and talk to the new landlady. She also took us into the back garden to show us a walnut tree which she believes was planted by our great grandfather. She had already gathered the walnuts and insisted we took some with us.

The current Tavern, this was the Castle Inn

The original building covered all of this....

Over 109 years old

Apparently the family owned several pubs on the Isle over the years...umm wondered where this love of wine came from.....but then could it be the rumoured, but not yet proved French connection ?

We toured the town, found other addresses to link with the census finds and finally were directed to the local library and this is where our research really took off.  Apparently a local schoolmaster had decided to index the names of every inhabitant of Sheppey mentioned in the local papers dating back to the early 19th century.
When the librarian brought us the box with our family name we couldn't believe our luck. 13 index cards and 12 were of known relatives, the 13th seemed unfamiliar but we were later able to claim her as well.
The  newspaper entries ranged from obituraries to full page stories and made fascinating reading.
the two most worthy of mention were the full page obit for are you ready......

Edward Jabez Hooker !

What a brilliant name. He died aged 96 and was declared at that time the oldest inhabitant of Sheppey. During his life he was elected  a director of the Sheerness Building  Society, becoming first chairman and then treasurer for more than 25 years in which time he doubled the the societies income, he was a prominent official in the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and was a volunteer in the old dockyard company. He left 3 sons, one daughter, 18 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren!

The second is a much sadder tale.. on 20 October 1906 Elizabeth Ida Hooker wife of Walter Hooker (my Great Uncle) tragically died after taking oxalic acid instead of epsom salts.  She was only 32 and left 2 young children.. How dreadful was that.
At the inquest there was a real debate about the labelling of poisons and I think that steps were taken to report the case to the government to have the packaging reviewed, whether it was is another matter.

Well to get this post back on a lighter note ( I hope I haven't depressed you too much), here are some pictures of the lovely beach at Sheerness. Apparently it used to be thronged with well off visitors taking the sea air.

Some lovely old buildings

Another story to follow?.....^
And finally, in one of my previous post I mentioned the cousin I found in Australia. Well only a couple of months after returning from our trip she came to England and we were able to meet up in a wonderful hotel only about 30 miles away.  We spent a whole afternoon and evening with her and her husband and although I know its been said time and again, it really was as if we had always known her. She even looks like us..

 We had a fabulous time. She brought a copy of the front page of the family bible, some lovely photographs to put faces to the names on the birth and marriage certificates and lots of stories of her own ancestry journey.

It has been a wonderful one for me and now I am about to track down my mum's family. Next month I am off to Kent again. I dont think I'll find so much this time as her side were rather more scattered, Kent, London, Wales, France!...... but you never know....!!

Now I'm off to sew to make something lovely I can blog about before I frighten you all away for good.
I hope though that this may have encouraged some of you to trace your own roots.  I never imagined I would ever manage it and it does take time and perseverence but I'm glad I did it.


Jenny x


  1. Gosh that sounds interesting. I am intrigued to hear about your mother's side of the family which will obviously be more difficult to trace as the names keep changing! Good luck.


  2. I have looked into Mr P's ancestory but haven't considered going to their birthplaces or where they lived... Daniel was lucky as I wanted to call him Mordecai after one of Mr P's easy to track relatives... not many Mordecai's in the census! lol

    What a wonderful adventure can't wait to read more!

    x Alex

  3. unbelievable, I read your post as you read the pages of a novel ; that adventure, excitement, if you think someone has come here in Italy, I'll be happy to help you !!!!
    I hope to read more about this story . hug

  4. Thank you, I was enthralled reading all about your ancestors and can't wait for the next installment. It's like reading a good book you just want it to go on and on....Lucey xx

  5. What fabulous tales!! Its so interesting what you have done. I am going to try and trace my family, but I need to find some time - might have to wait to be a retirement project. xxx

  6. Brilliant! So sorry your visit to Bath didn't coincide with the fair. x

  7. Oh Jenny thankyou, you tell it so well. You've had me gripped, cant wait for your mum's side story xxx

  8. Its excellent the things you have found out. I really want to visit where my Grandparents and Great Grantparents were born and grew up, it would be lovely to see xx

  9. I really enjoyed reading about everyone.
    It was nice that you actually made the effort to research it.
    Poor old Elizabeth how sad...x

  10. It's fascinating & very interseting.
    My mum's family has been very easy to trace as they all lived in the same area for generations as did my father's mother's family but his father is a mystery & I haven't got very far with tracing any of his family!


  11. Just dropping by to say thank you for your comments. I love your kitchen, the green is such a gorgeous shade and your summerhouse, well I'm in lust with that too!
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Lisa x

  12. Thank you for dropping by my blog again. You always leave lovely messages.
    Jille x

  13. Hi Jenny, quite a research you did. I'm not a good liar, so to be honest i did not read the whole story.Just wanted to let you know that i appreciate all your (always honest) and lovely comments. xx

  14. Hi there, thanks for visiting me!
    I like your cake tier in one of your previous posts. I thought about trying this after I saw some advertised in Country Living selling for £60!
    Regarding the photo mosaic, I think I'll do a post on this soon, everything required is available free online.

  15. Hi Jenny<

    thanks for stopping by at my blog.
    My first foreign follower! I'm so proud!
    My new pet sure is easy and cheap ;-) He's so adorable!
    Have a nice and sunny weekend!


  16. Hi Jenny, I just popped onto your lovely blog. Off to read some of your past posts... Hope your weekend is great, sunny and funny so far!

  17. Jenny~
    I hope there is a pot of gold at the end of your amazing rainbow of a hunt!

  18. Hi Jenny

    At last a bit of spare time to catch up with some blogging! I found your family history will interesting to read. I lived in Faversham Kent for a few years, not all that far from Sheppey. How very sad about your Great Uncle's wife. It is so fascinating discovering stories and getting to know more about past relatives. Your enquiries have paid off, meeting a cousin from Australia must have been the icing on the cake!

    Take care
    Isabelle x

  19. Hi Jenny!

    Regarding the name "B. H. Hooker", it could be Bertram Harold Hooker (my 1st cousin 3x removed), though he died at sea as the direct result of enemy action in 1916 (which is around the date in the picture). He was on the HMS Hampshire.

    I don't know if it's the same guy, but just wanted to give you the information, just in case!

  20. Hi Alan
    Good to hear from you. Thanks for the further info re Bertram, from which I have traced the Naval war death record and medals records. Although I do believe we are related to the B H Hooker on the memorial, it does not appear to be the same person as the ship which exploded in Sheerness docks was HMS Princess Irene. I am still searching though.


Hi thanks for stopping by, but even better say hello. I love to read your comments and its also a way for me to meet you. I do read every coment but don't always have the time to find your email or web, so do pop back if you have asked a question as I will answer it here.xx