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Chris Newall's Family History Pages

I was born in Margate, Kent in July 1938 and was adopted into the Newall family when I was a few weeks old. I always knew that I had been adopted, my new parents telling me that I was special because they had chosen me - which was a lovely way to put it. They both died in the 1960s and among my father's papers I found my original Adoption Order, which he had filed away for me to have after his death. There things rested until 1997, when some family photographs left to me by my aunt awakened an interest family history which had been lying dormant for many years. Amongst the collection was a full plate photograph of a wedding group taken after the marriage of my Newall grandparents in 1901. I recognised them, but who were the other 40 or so people in the photograph? I thought it would be fun to find out - and got bitten by the Family History Bug!

Having started I decided to research my wife's family as well as the Newall family, and to try to trace my birth parent's and their families. Armed with the information on my adoption order I quickly located my mother's family and tracked down the location of my adoption records. After the required statutory counselling I was able to examine the latter, which identified my father. Thus I had a dozen lines to follow; I have traced most back to the beginning of Civil Registration in 1837 and some a lot further.

Incidentally, I have still only have positive identification for about 16 people in the 1901 wedding photograph. Does anyone know who the others are?

I belong to the following societies:
All have an enthusiastic membership amongst whom I have found many contacts and even some distant cousins. With their help I have been able to extend the family tree of my adoptive family (last updated on 22nd July 2002) by several generations. The tree was created with Tom de Neef's KStableau program. This suberb utility creates HTML Pedigree [ancestor] and Genealogy [descendant] charts from GEDCOM files and also allows inbreeding and kinship to be displayed on the computer's screen. A selection of tableaus created from my own research database are now on-line, further tableaus will be added from time to time.

Another way of displaying an ancestor tree is as a conventional five-generation ancestor sheet. You are welcome to copy this template for your own use (but please acknowledge its source).

I am now compiling sets of family history pages for a family 'IntraNet' for distribution to family members on CDs. I have put a small subset of these pages online here. If you have any comments or would like information about creating your own family IntraNet please contact me.

The Catley Events Database holds information supplied by a worldwide group of Cat[t]ley researchers. I have summarised my Catley family connections from Weaverham, Cheshire and further information about Catley families worldwide is to be found at The Catley Desk website.

My current research interests are listed here, if any of them rings a bell please get in touch.

Some of the families I am researching lived 'in interesting times' or interesting places. Here are a few examples:

Hall The Halls, ancestors of my adoptive mother, lived in the lead-mining village of Middleton-by-Wirksworth until the 1870s and held shares in the Goodluck Mine until its sale in 1830. I have transcribed the 1841 Census for Middleton, the village had a population of 1031 and the as enumerated census records and name index are now on-line. Copies of the full transcript and name index have been deposited with the library of the Derbyshire FHS. John Palmer's transcriptions of the Wirksworth Parish registers have been invaluable in tracing the various families in Middleton.
Olby From around 1800 successive generations of the Olbys were flint-knappers in Brandon. Flint-working had been a local industry since neolithic times and Brandon was the centre of the gunflint industry until the development of the percussion cap in the early 19th century. The Brandon Heritage Project website provides a lavishly illustrated summary of the history this small Suffolk town situated in the river Ouse on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. [The Olby surname has now been registered as a One-Name Study - see below]
Dowding Members of the Dowding family farmed in the Westbury on Severn area since 1700 or earlier. In 1892 John Dowding first described the Blaisdon Red plum, which makes an excellent red jam and was for many years a major crop in the area.
Brief biographies of some of the people I am researching are now on-line:
  • Anne Catley - a scandalous 18th century megastar
  • Myer Davis - a Hebrew scholar, teacher and pioneering Anglo-Jewish historian
  • John Dowding - the discoverer of the Blaisdon Red plum
  • Ebenezer Hall - a prominent Sheffield silversmith
  • John Gilbert Hall - who was killed in action in World War I
  • Alfred Olby - the founder of a chain of builder's merchants in East Kent
  • David Purdon - who died attempting a heroic rescue during Bridlington's Great Gale in 1871
BMD Registration Summary
A chart of the annual number of birth, marriage and death registrations in England and Wales from 1838 to 1999.

The Catley Database - Updated 25th October 2011
Over 2900 events for the surnames Catley, Cattley and variants extracted from a variety of sources, around 156 households extracted from English and Welsh census records and over 2500 English and Welsh GRO Index references. Contributions, comments and corrections by Email please.

Census Data Sets - Updated 29th October 2011
Transcriptions of several hundred households from the 1841-1901 censuses covering my main areas of interest.

Church Photographs - Updated 22nd January 2016
Photographs of about 70 English country churches, most have connections with families I am researching.

Memorial Inscriptions - Updated 8th July 2004
Transcription of about 100 memorial inscriptions from a selection of churchyards and cemeteries.

OLBY One-Name Study
This study, registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies, initially concentrated on the Olby families of England and Wales. It is now being extended to cover the remainder of the British Isles and the rest of the World.

Surname Data Sets - Updated 29th May 2005
I have recorded over 5,000 events from GRO birth, marriage and death indexes, parish registers, bishops transcripts, probate calendars and other sources. Many of these are now available for inspection on my Dataset Pages.

A selection of tableau charts created with Tom de Neef's KStableau program.

Trade and Professional Directories - Updated 29th October 2011
A selection of entries from trade and professional directories.

Westbury on Severn Burials
A selection of annotated entries from the Westbury on Severn burial register May 1889 - June 1903

Wills - Updated 29th October 2011
Summaries of around 100 wills dating from the 17th century onwards.

and, finally, a mystery photograph
The Family Grave of James Westbrook - who was he and where is it?

Links to other websites

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This document is © Chris Newall 2020 and is freely available to fellow researchers.
It is not for sale or general publication.

Author : Chris Newall
Page created on : 30th July 1999
Last update : 23rd April 2020