Saturday, 28 November 2009


50th Anniversary

I am not a great one for parties as I am usually the sort of wet blanket who does not get invited a second time if someone has been so unwise as to provide a first time! I am getting better at it, though! Since I retired the topics of conversation do not involve solely what went on at work.

I had received an invitation to a 50th wedding anniversary party for this evening and was very pleased to go to meet some new people. Being almost a stranger to the area I had expected to know nobody except my host and hostess but, being in a country town, where many people know each other, this was not the case and there was a cousin of a cousin there with his wife. The company with whom I sat at table was very agreeable as well, so I enjoyed myself.

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Friday, 27 November 2009


Chant & Offin, Purdy & Longley

This is the church at Hutton in Essex which I visited on the 25th. At one time there was a wealthy local family named Offin and Mary Ann Offin married Samuel Chant. He was from a Shoreditch family with stockbroking connections. I can trace his line back, but only so far because of missing records. Samuel is buried here.

Mary Ann's great niece, Catherine Offin, moved to Crewkerne. She married Ptolemy Colmer. There are still Colmers in the area but I have not tied any of them to my Chant family yet.

Mary Ann's nephew, Henry Offin, married Clara Purdy. Clara was the daughter of John Purdy a gun spring maker from the east end of London. When Henry died Clara moved to Albert Square (Stratford not Walford), less than a quarter of a mile from Chant Street where property was owned by related members of Samuel's Chant family.

Before I started on the family tree and when Eastenders was new on television I mentioned Albert Square to my mother. "I was born there," she said. Although that does not reflect on her birth certificate, why should she have said that? It certainly stuck in my mind and she was not one to court an association with a television programme, no matter how popular. A fact which could occur, probably only to me, was that there may have been a family connection. She was the first born and her mother could have gone to a relative for her confinement. Her Longley mother was a Purdy!

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Great Aunt Rhoda

Am I about to find a name for one of the photographs in my collection? I have long surmised that this is a picture of Rhoda Annie Avey née Longley, my great aunt. So well thought of was she by my grandparents that their firstborn, my mother, was named Rhoda for her. This carried on a tradition as she was, in turn, named for my great grandmother's sister, Rhoda Smith.

Rhoda was my grandfather's sister and sister to Kate Longley of whom I wrote a short while ago.

Great aunt Rhoda married Robert (Robbie) Avey and they had three children. I had thought, for some reason, that the youngest had never married. Today I discovered that she had and was able to trace a family line through to a second cousin I found using the Internet.

Between us we have established enough detail to confirm I have the right family. We have also spoken on the telephone. Sadly I learn that another cousin in the Avey line for whom I have been searching for a number of years has moved abroad and become difficult to contact. That cousin was born only a few months before me so I was hoping that we should be able to compare notes about our lives and know exactly the events to which we should be referring.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Almost a Guy

My father was born on 4th November 1894 in the 'Fleur de Lis' at Stoke-sub-Hamdon.
One of his favourite sayings was: "I was almost a Guy." This was quite a good ploy as we never forgot his birthday.
Seeing some early fireworks in the sky above Stoke a short while ago I wondered if there was someone else in the area who was celebrating their birthday today and they were 'almost a Guy' as well.

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