Geoffs Genealogy Update 5th January 2012

I’m a few days late with this blog entry, the result of a very merry Christmas & New Year holiday. I hope that you, also, had a good break, and that 2012 is good to you.

Looking back over the past year, although it was obviously a lousy year in economic terms for most people in the UK, for me in many respects it was pretty good. We enjoyed two lovely European holidays with some splendid weather, super food, good company and wonderful country. We also had a number of very enjoyable short weekend breaks, and had the excitement of our niece’s wedding. On top of all that, we had the excitement of the Bankes Descendants Reunion in June. What a thrill that was.  All this plus a number of visits to various theatres or concert halls, where we enjoyed some wonderful performances. No complaints from me about 2011!

Mention of the Bankes Reunion leads me to draw your attention to the recently added section on this website, that is devoted to that subject. Here you will find transcriptions of the three talks that were given, plus a selection of photographs taken by attendees. I hope you will find this interesting.

For those of you who heard Helen’s super talk on Robert Hanham Collyer (1814- abt 1891) at the reunion you may be interested to know that recently even more information has come to light about this talented but flawed individual. Not only does the new British Library Newspapers website contain a number of articles that report on various of his exploits, but Helen has recently found some new sources as well. As is the case with all subjects, extra information is being placed in cyberspace all the time, so it is always worthwhile to keep re-searching for information on your chosen topic. In fact, not only this is true of the internet generally, but also of individual websites. For instance, the content on the British Library Newspapers site is being added to daily on a huge scale. I shall certainly be re-visiting it time and again.

Apart from the Robert Hanham Collyer finds, Helen’s initial sweep of this site brought forth quite a number of articles that are of great interest to us.

There is, for instance, the case of Joseph Culshaw, a Lancashire man who had befriended three local lads and invited them into his house for a friendly chat in Leyland in 1887. Just why, I wonder, did he suddenly take his gun off the wall and start shooting at his visitors as they made a hasty retreat?

We’re not sure that Joseph was “one of ours”, but superficially it seems quite likely.

Then there was Barney Sayer, who was in court in East Anglia in 1891 because he had assaulted an assistant schoolmaster. He was fined 20 shillings plus 9 shillings costs, or 14 days imprisonment with hard labour.

I don’t want to give you the impression that our forebears were all violent people, but I can’t deny that this type of detail adds to our research immensely. Isn’t it funny how most of us would steer clear of most kinds of trouble, but we usually start licking our lips when we find an ancestor who had some juicyskeletons in their cupboard?

We have become aware aware that a problem has arisen with the family tree  on the Geoff Genealogy website. For some reason the data appears to have become corrupted, and unfortunately it cannot necessarily be assumed to be correct. In fact quite a lot of the dates that are you will find are not correct. Our apologies for this.

Fortunately in our family there are some people who are far cleverer than I, and  this situation will be rectified. It may be a while before this can be done, however, and in the meantime if you find that the data you are seeing  on our website does not make sense feel free to contact me, and I will try to help you.

  • This page was last updated on Thursday January 5th, 2012.

Geoffs Genealogy Update 12 December 2007

Blog time again.

Christmas is now less than a couple of weeks away, and I think I’m more or less up to speed with that. The main mailing of cards have been sent, and the pressies have been bought. In the next few days the Christmas Tree will be set up at chez-Culshaw and we will then really know that yule time is with us. I’m looking forward to seeing my brother again, as I don’t see him very often. It will be good to be able to relax for a few days with the family.

We are well into the UK winter now. Personally, I can’t wait for the longer daylight hours to return. There are aspects of winter that I like – football, for instance, but for me the worst aspect of that season is the shortening of the daylight hours. I cannot wait for 21 December to pass, so that we can start moving towards the Spring.

You will not be too surprised, I’m sure, to learn that during the past couple of weeks I’ve been busy on the treeing front. I think I mentioned in my last notes that I was recently contacted by an Australian member of the Benzoni clan, and this has led me to spend some time working on this branch of the Bankes pedigree. The Benzonis hailed from Italy. Some time in the first part of the nineteenth century they made their way from Italy to London, and Charles Benzoni (b Como, c1811) married a Bankes descendant – Eleanor (Brannon) Crow (b London c1809). Eleanor was descended from Ann Deane, half-sister to John Bankes. They went on to have four children, and Ted in Australia has kindly sent me details of his descent from these people. Ted, if you are reading this, I am working on the printouts you sent me and will contact you again when I’ve updated my records.

Last week we also exchanged emails with a South American Sayer researcher who lives in Colombia. The Sayers are on Jan’s part of the tree. Samuel Sayer (circa1799-1866) and his wife Elizabeth Utting (b circa 1803) emigrated from East Anglia to Colombia in the nineteenth century and many of his descendants are avid family history researchers. It is always a pleasure to hear from them, and we were delighted to add a new contact.

I have also been delighted to hear recently from a Culshaw researcher. Alas, her research was not on my line, but I was delighted to be able to put her in contact with a very long-standing friend and fellow Culshaw researcher, whose research does link to hers.

I still have a lot of material to work through that was sent to me by Chris a few weeks ago. I’ve mentioned Chris before. She is another Culshaw researcher, whose research does link to mine. She sent me “Heaps” of material about the Heaps branch of her family, and I’m looking forward to working my way through it.

On the Guyatt front Pat has done some really great research, which has resulted in us obtaining some fantastic information about the branch of the clan that spent some time in Plymouth and served in the British army. I am looking forward to studying the latest material in the next few days. I have mentioned this research avenue before, but not elaborated. I’m doing the same again – not that I want to tease you; rather because it would take a long time for me to explain this research properly, and a blog does not seem the appropriate place to do that. If any of you would like to know more about this research please contact me through the link on and I’ll be pleased to tell you about it.

I also have a number of other items of research that I need to get to in the new year, so there’s no sign of the pace slowing in the near future.

At this time of year I am usually beavering away, preparing the next lot of updates to the website. Alas, this year I am all behind. I haven’t started yet!

I have plans for some new pages,and some significant amendments to existing pages, but at present I can’t say when they will enter cyberspace.Sorry about that. It’s going to be a case of “watch this space”, I’m afraid. Hopefully we may be able to get an updated tree in place on the site before too long, however.

That’s it for now. See you in another couple of weeks.

Have a very happy Christmas and a happy & healthy new year.

  • This page was last updated on Wednesday December 12th, 2007.

Geoffs Genealogy News Update

Much activity this week on Jan’s Sayer lines (you can see the Sayer line on the tree on the site).

Samuel Sayer (b c1799) and his wife, Elizabeth Utting (b c1803) married in Jamaica in 1828 and settled Bogota, Colombia shortly afterwards. They had eight children that we know of, all born in Bogota, and the descendants of these people are living in South America/USA. They really are very keen on family history, and although we have had some contact with them previously, this week we have gone on to their mailing list. The result has been a very large number of emails that have dropped into our in box. It will take some time to assimilate all the information that is coming in, but as soon as possible we will put some of it on Geoffs Genealogy.

Also this week, a couple of other really exciting new contacts. One from a Culshaw researcher, and the other from a direct descendant of Robert Hanham Collyer- one of our favourite research subjects.

  • This page was last updated on Sunday January 14th, 2007.