Geoffs Genealogy Update 05 April 2008

Saturday April 5th, 2008 | Geoff

I’m a bit late writing this entry on my blog, so apologies for that.

Since my last entry the time has passed so quickly! We have had the earliest Easter holiday of my lifetime, which we spent decorating – a necessary evil. Just before Easter Jan & I went to Birmingham to see a Welsh National Opera performance of Verdi’s Falstaff, with Bryn Terfel in the title role. What a treat this was. Terfel is the most fantastic Falstaff ever, I’m sure, and the rest of the cast were simply wonderful. The performance passed so quickly! The following week it was shown on S4C tv, who had recorded the performance in Cardiff, so we were able to enjoy it all over again. A real treat.

We are eagerly awaiting details of Bryn Terfel’s Faenol Festival, to be held in North Wales in August. I keep on checking the website (every day!) but still no news!

Last week we went to Symphony Hall to hear the CBSO perform Beethoven’s 5th Symphony under the baton of Louis Langree – an exhiliarating performance of a familiar but enduringly brilliant work. The programme also included a performance of Bartok’s 3rd Piano Concerto, with soloist Andreas Haefliger. This, also, was wonderful.

Symphony Hall was only about half full for this performance, which was a bit surprising to me. The seats are not particularly expensive, and it seems to me sad that more people don’t take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy such world class music in world class surroundings.

On the treeing front I’ve been as active as ever. I’ve had some very interesting contacts with people who have visited the Geoff’s Genealogy website, and found something there that interests them. The research I’ve been doing over this period has mainly centred on the Heppell line, which I’ve mentioned several times on this blog – mainly last year.

Regular readers of this blog (yes – I assure you – there are some!) may recall that among my finds when I made my trip to London on 12 February was a probate entry relating to the estate of Anna Maria (Holt) Heppell, who died on 21 February 1866. This stated that her sole kinsman was her son, Richard William George Heppell, who lived at that time in a place called Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, New York state, USA. I thought I would see what I could find out about this man and his life in the USA, and this is what I have been doing of late – with quite good results.

First of all I found Richard and his wife on a couple of US censuses. I noted that on the 1870 US Census he was married to a lady who had, like him, been born in England. I also noted that the children of this couple had been born in New York, USA. I therefore surmised that they probably married before going to the USA.

I found Richard and his wife on the passenger list of the vessel City of London, which arrived in New York on 21 August 1866, indicating that they were, indeed, married before their emigration. This led me to trace their, marriage in the civil registration indexes – Richard William George Heppell m Harriet Sarah Houghton and the event was registered in the December quarter of 1865 in Pancras, Middlesex district registry.

I went on to look for family members on successive US census entries which are available online, which gave me a great deal of information, not only about Richard and Harriet and their ten children, but also about the families of their children. The finds I made gave me information that extends some branches of the research right through to 1930. I ascertained that Richard William George Heppell must have died between the 1900 and 1910 censuses, and also that his son – Richard H Heppell (b 1868) took part in the Alaskan gold rush which started in 1909. In 1910 he was enumerated as one of many miners in the goldrush town of East Nome.

I was very pleased with all this. I had found out so much interesting information that the fact that I had not found the deaths of many of these folk did not concern me too much. However, I decided to carry out an internet search for Heppell in New York and came up with a website that contains an index to the burials at Forest Hill cemetery, Fredonia, New York. This, I now know, was the burial place of many of the Heppell clan, and there they all were! Not only that, but the index includes some of the maiden names of some of the spouses of Heppell males, the names of the parents of many of the deceased, and the cause of death of many of the deceased. Fantastic!

All this information has been added to my records. Yes, I know, I should check the original source, but at the moment I do not have the means to do that ….. unless of course the LDS has filmed it.

Another avenue to pursue sometime. This treeing lark never stops, does it???

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