Research for my next trip to London

A friend of mine got me interested in researching my genealogy online. My family has actually already been pretty good about this, asking elder members about what they know while they’re still around to tell us. So as many census forms, ship passenger lists, and military records I have found, it hasn’t extended the chart another generation yet. But as my mother told me recently, it’s nice to have the documentation confirming what we thought.

My most recent find was a 1901 census from England containing my great-great grandparents and their children: Barney and his siblings. (Barney – The not-so-Irish great-grandfather born on March 17th.) I love England’s census forms. They have one piece of data US census forms don’t have. Street address. Sure, it’s irrelevant trivia…except next time I’m in London I know what street to walk down.

For those of my readers familiar with London (and I know there are at least a couple) they lived in Marylebone, now part of Westminster, at 56 Wells Street, not too far from Hyde and Regent’s parks. (Yes, I looked it up on Google Maps). Apparently it’s part of the Soho/Noho area. Maybe while I’m walking down the street, I’ll eat some sushi.

Barney claimed in the bio he submitted to Who’s Who in North St. Louis – 1925 that he learned tailoring “at the London Polytechnic” and was “a student at Oxford.”

What is now Westminster University at that time was under the name of Regent Street Polytechnic, and was located at 309 Regent Street. Locals probably just called it Polytechnic, since that was a prior name, and it was at that time part of London. It’s only four to five blocks from where he lived, which got me to research the school a bit more.

My family has chuckled at the idea of him attending college when he probably never finished high school. But as it turns out, I think we may have been unfair. Regent Street Polytechnic’s founder, Quintin Hogg, had a mission “to provide for the athletic, intellectual, social and religious needs of young men, and to this end he provided a range of sporting and social facilities as well as an increasing range of educational and vocational classes.” It appears he received his training from a charitable institution not too much different from the one his great-grandson works for today.

Now, to his claim that he was a “student at Oxford.” He doesn’t say Oxford ‘College’ or ‘University’, which helps more than you might imagine. Oxford England is about sixty miles away, however, a quick look at the maps linked to above, and Wells Street intersects with Oxford Street, a few blocks from where the Oxford Circus underground stop is today, and was in 1901, though then it was part of the Central London Railway.

So it seems likely that Barney was a ‘student of life’ on Oxford Street.

0 thoughts on “Research for my next trip to London

  1. DL Emerick

    Why Johnny can’t evolve.

    History — anything of it — always fascinates me.

    How could I not believe in evolution?

    I believed in it before I ever heard of Darwin, whose name was never mentioned. In the rural small towns where I was born and where I spent all of my early formative years, any mention of mainline biological science more recent than a couple of hundred years ago was verboten. Indeed, in our HS biology course, the words of evolution were taboo.

    We studied the formal taxonomy, with no dynamic imputed to it/ We learned the organizational classifications of the species. We did not even get to study “historical” biology, though. There was no mention of creatures, flora or fauna, from alleged eras when almost entirely other plants and animals may have filled the seas, the skies and the grounds of life. Such matters were also left to informal knowing, taboo also. The formal data base was thus left void in places, with many missing links.

    Each person might marvel at the range of life forms, but he was never be permitted to ask how they might be “related” to one another. Maybe, just maybe, an occasional bright student might reach the idea that the entire biological system was organized. But, any remark to that effect was “out of order” in the schools. The simplest inferential fact, that living matter was all the same, was somehow apparent, nonentheles, even to those us left willfully uneducated and in ignorance by the school.

    Any fool could see life forms dividing along the lines of mobility, perhaps, between animals and plants. In the animal kingdom, one could find the range from the smallest microscopic beings all the way up to the largest animals.

    The simplest inference, like a COPERNICAN resistance in a revolutionary view: IT MOVES!!!!

    Yes, Life seems to be ever moving ever onward and upward.

    History, by reflection, is the tale of this ascent of being into man.

    Of course, the tree of life stands, to remind us of many points:
    (1) there are always roots hidden fom view;
    (2) origins are birth from seeds, in dark places;
    (3) from roots one goes up a stalk, stem, trunk to branches;
    (4) there may be a highest branch, but it seems almost irrelevant, as a fact;
    (5) sex (specialization, division of labor?) appears as an attribute of higher species;
    (6) reproduction and generations are major processes;
    (7) like yields like, but likeness appears infinitely variable, even cross-sectionally;
    (8) some variations are chance, and appear to fade out;
    (9) other variations seem to spread like wild-fire through a species, over time;
    (10) new species arise and old species disappear;

    ERGO, MAN APPEARS, NATURALLY, IN THE COURSE OF HISTORY, and on the Tree of Life.

    ****

    But, community is founded on the idea of civilization — on principles of the Static, on order maintained only by rules, for which all variations are suspect, all differences are undesirable and hence also illegal. It teaches us Principles of the Static Philosophy: all motion is only apparent, there is nothing new under the sun, nothing changes, it has always been as it is now, and so on.

    Almost paradoxically, present civilization is allied against the idea of any better civilization — as a dire foe of its possible successors, its own “children”. Hence, civilization still sacrifices its own “children” to appease the Gods, to convince God that it, alone perhaps, is worthy of being “relative” to God, as an heir of the Kingdom of God! “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be executed and done, vesting in me the Estate!”

    Thus, in every generation of history, there are movers and there are stayers — like animals and plants. Some will claim that they will stay in the ways of their parents, to honor their parents, traditionally. Some will say, my parents moved onwards, upwards, and I would be a dishonor to them were I to stay fixed, or even descend from the upward and onward roads that they walked. We fight among ourselves about the very meaning of the phrase: HONOR YOUR PARENTS — whether to move or stay.

    My parents were most decidedly movers. Apparently, so were Johnny’s.

    Yes, Johnny can’t evolve, if he doesn’t move on and up.

    Nomadic behavior is a survival requirement,
    what survives is not the same,
    and what is the same is death.

    The life of a child repeats the life of generations before it, but only up to some critical point — the “ultimate” end as it alone and uniquely sees it, and so lives towards that “final” perfect ending.

    Reply
  2. John

    Usually your comments seem to be somewhat connected to the post. In this case, I am lost on the relationship. Unless one compares genealogy to evolution, but that’s somwhat tenuous.

    Reply
  3. John

    So you’re saying if I want to understand the connection between evolution and genealogy research I have to understand biomedicine? I guess I’ll have to remain ignorant.

    Reply
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