Sunday, March 27, 2011

Time for a tour of churches in London

As I work through all of this wonderful genealogy information that I have gathered, I long to visit the churches where my ancestors were baptized, married and buried.  Just to stand in the same place where I know they had been would be so moving.  Someday...

I thought that I would introduce John Savage, my 3rd great grandfather, and his wife, Mary Bridcutt, through photos and descriptions of the churches where some of these milestones occurred.

John was baptized September 22, 1782 at St. Mary's Whitechapel.  Here is a bit of history of St. Mary's.

"The name Whitechapel came from the chapel called St Mary Matfelon, which had white walls. This was situated in what is now Altab Ali Park . The chapel was originally built in the 13th century and the last of a series of chapels with this name was so badly damaged in World War 2 that it was pulled down after the war. Its floor plan can be seen in the park as can a few of the graves. Matfelon was the name of the family responsible for the 14th century building.

On the corner of Whitechapel Road and White Church Lane. The inscription states that this fountain had been in the Old Church railing and was moved here in 1879, and that it was "Erected by one who is known yet unknown." Presumably, the benefactor wished to remain anonymous. Round the central fountain is written:

(The grey letters are damaged and may not be correct) The old chunk of stone in the centre has a hole, from which presumably the water came out. In the 19th century, when this was first built, drinking fountains providing clean water were an important means of preventing the frequent cholera epidemics that caused many deaths in the East End.)"

This is an image from Google Earth of the remaining foundation of St. Mary's.

John was married to Mary Bridcutt on February 9, 1806 at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch.  Here's what St. Leonard's looks like today.

John was buried on February 22, 1852 at Christchurch, Spitalfields. (see previous post for picture of Christchurch) I always wondered what the heck the name Spitalfields was all about.  It never sounded very nice to me!  Here's the explanation:

"The name Spitalfields was derived from St Mary's Spital (Hospital) which was founded in 1197. Recent excavations have uncovered the Charnel House, which can be seen in Bishop's Square. Many centuries before the hospital, the Romans used part of the area as a burial ground, and a decorated lead coffin found here is on display in the Museum of London."

For those of you doing research in the East of London areas, I have found the site very helpful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Off to school - early 1940's

Last night I spent 2 hours in a PTA meeting trying to figure out what classes my son has to take to graduate from high school.  Things have changed since I graduated in the 1980's!  As I was deciding what to write about today, I remembered that I had a picture of my dad and his siblings with a caption about going to school.

Mary Lou, Frank, Neal and Dave

My mom included this photo in the "School Days" section of a scrapbook. I think that this photograph must have been taken in the early 1940's.  I wonder if things felt this complicated back then? 

 I am fortunate to have some of dad's report cards.  The ones from early on (about 1941, I think) were pretty simple.  But I like how personal they are - a nice handwritten note on lined paper.

By the time 8th grade rolled around (1947-1948 school year), the report cards were a bit more formal, and letter grades appeared.  It is interesting to see how dad did in school and compare it to how I did.  Luckily, my mom saved my report cards and I can easily see the differences and similarities.

Now that I have a teenager, I have to keep reminding myself that the occasional eye-rolling, and "how could you possibly know this" comes with the territory. I remember feeling that way about my parents.  The nice thing is, after a bit of growing up, I realized just how hard my dad worked to get through dental school, and just how smart he was.  My mom worked hard too.  She got her nursing degree, helped put dad through dental school, raised a family, and went back to work.  

Hmmm....I'm beginning to feel like a bit of a slouch.  Time to conquer the world!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shout Out to Thomas MacEntee and the Jamboree Extension Webinars

OK, another great webinar.  This one was "Social Networking:  New Horizons for Genealogists" by Thomas MacEntee for the Southern California Genealogy Society's ( Extension Series.   There was so much helpful information.  One of Thomas' suggestions was to search Facebook for family surnames.  So I did, and I quickly found a second cousin!  My family was from a small town and I knew that anybody from that town with my surname had to be related, so I didn't have to look long.

Here are a few links to check out has a list of webinars so you can see what is in the works.  Others may know of different sites to visit. may be scary for some of you, but recruit a "youngster" to help if you need it.  Be sure to take the time to understand the privacy settings, and only share what you are comfortable with.  has links to pages that will help you understand the ins and outs of blogging and ways to fine tune your blog.  And if you don't blog yet, try it!  

Happy hunting! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thomas Savage and Frances Smith

Thomas and Frances were my 4th Great Grandparents.  Thomas was born on May 31, 1748 and baptized on June 12, 1748 at St. Dunstan, Stepney. 

Frances Smith was born in 1748 according to a search on the FamilySearch website, but I haven't independently verified this yet.  

Frances and Thomas were married at St. Dunstan, Stepney, on July 7, 1776. (I wonder what they knew about those rabble-rousers in the colonies?)

St. Dunstan, Stepney
Both Thomas and Frances had burial services at Christ Church, Spitalfields.  Frances was buried on March 26, 1799 and Thomas was buried on April 25, 1819.

Frances' Burial Record

Thomas' Burial Record

Christ Church, Spitalfields

I visited London way back in the late 1970's - long before I knew so much detail about where my Savages lived - rats!  Now I'll just have to plan a family history tour to England - waahooo!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I "attended" my first webinar today, and by attended I mean I sat in the comfort of my own home, with note paper and a Diet Coke on hand, in front of my computer.  It was a great experience.  I attended Legacy Family Tree's "More Blogging for Beginners" hosted by Geoff Rasmussen and the author of the DearMYRTLE blog ( ).  What a wealth of information.  These webinars are a terrific source of information - check out to see a schedule.