What’s New at Durham Records Online

Park Road in South Moor, a village to the west...

Park Road in South Moor, a village to the west of Stanley in County Durham, England. Looking north up the hill towards Oxhill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1,000,000th Burial !!!

Durham Records Online is celebrating the millionth burial going online! With the advent of the Stanley Cemetery collection, the count of burial records (church burials plus cemetery registers) passed the 1,000,000 mark. Here is burial number 1,000,000 (at Stanley Cemetery):

  • 31 Jul 1901 John Smith      Hope, of 24 Jubilee Terrace, Ox Hill, age: 14

The burial collection now numbers 1,006,929.

Stanley Cemetery burials 1891-1977

8,384 burials at Stanley Cemetery between Stanley and Beamish in Lanchester district. Burials in the Old Section are from the opening of the cemetery in Nov 1891 to May 1977. The New Section opened in May 1914 and burials in the Old Section tailed off rapidly after the 1920s. Our transcription of the New Section runs to 20 May 1932, and we have annotated burials in this section with “buried in the New Section”.

Because these are municipal cemetery records, not church burial records, they present many more genealogically useful details. Just over half of these records give an occupation, either of the deceased, of the father, or of the husband (but, oddly, they do not actually name the father or husband). Some give information about how or where the person died. Here are some samples:

  • 25 Nov 1891 William      Ramshaw, of Front Street, Stanley, age: 46, stone quarryman
  • 26 Oct 1892 Emma Thorne,      of South Moor, age: 17, coalminer’s daughter
  • 23 Jun 1901 Emily Ann      Dunn, of 31 Murray Street, age: 27, married woman
  • 24 Mar 1913 Barbara Ann      Charlton, of 4 High Street, age: 29, coalminer’s wife
  • 16 Apr 1930 William      Creswell Ramsey, of 20 Shield Field Green, Newcastle, age: 58, killed on      the highway at Kip Hill, Stanley, buried by Coroner’s Order
  • 12 Dec 1957 George Miles      Handy, of 26 Beaconsfield Street, Stanley, age: 60, van driver
  • 3 May 1914 William      Proudlock Taylor, of 17 Garden Terrace, Stanley, age: 21, grocer, buried      in the New Section
  • 12 Mar 1924 John Coe, of      9 Joicey Terrace, Tanfield Lea, age: 80, retired miner, non parishioner,      buried in the New Section
  • 26 Mar 1932 Esther      Rodham, of 98 Wear Road, Stanley, age: 49, bricklayer’s wife, buried in      the New Section

Besides street addresses in Stanley, abodes mentioned include Annfield Plain, Beamish, Birtley, Burnhope, Chilton, Consett, Craghead, Cresta, Cross Lanes, Crow’s Nest, East Castle Colliery, Stanley, Edmondsley, Fatfield, Greenland, Havannah, High Stanley, Kip Hill, Nettlesworth, No Place, Oakey’s Cottages, Ox Hill, Park House, Pea Farm, Plawsworth, Quaking Houses, Shield Row, South Moor, Stanley Bank Head, Stanley Hall, Stanley Hill Top, Tanfield Lea, Tantobie, Twizell, West Kyo, West Stanley, and White-le-Head.

Bishopwearmouth: Bethel Chapel (Congregational) baptisms & burials

At Bethel Chapel on Villiers Street in Bishopwearmouth, a non-conformist Congregationalist (or Independent) chapel:

  • 233 baptisms covering  1811 to 1 Aug 1837
  • 404 burials from  November 1826 to May 1854 (these are all the burials that ever occurred at      this site)

Bethel Chapel was built in 1817. The first three baptisms, dated 1811, 1814, and Dec 1817, are all from the same family, so they probably entered them all at once when the chapel opened in 1817.

Mother’s maiden names were recorded in nearly all of these baptisms, as well as the child’s birth date. The child’s order in the family was also provided until the end of 1820.  Here are some samples:

  • 26 Mar 1819 Robert      Brewis Hobson, of Bishopwearmouth, born 22-Feb 1819, 2nd son of Charles      Hobson (shipwright) & Elizabeth Brewis
  • 22 Jan 1829 Mary      Sherwood Gaine, of East Cross Street, Bishopwearmouth, born 24-Oct 1828,      [daughter] of Thomas Gaine (master mariner) & Elizabeth Sherwood
  • 30 Jul 1837 Elizabeth      Rippon, of Northumberland Street, Bishopwearmouth, born 31-May 1837,      [daughter] of Thomas Rippon (butcher) & Leah Curry

Most of these burials show the occupation of the deceased or of the deceased’s husband or father (but without naming the husband or father). Some samples:

  • 14 Mar 1828 Joseph Baird,  of Sans Street, Bishopwearmouth, age: 58, ship carpenter, died 10 Mar,  vault 87
  • 30 Jul 1834 Richard  William Frater, of Derwent Street, age: 6 years 6 months, excise man’s      son, died 27 Jul, vault 57
  • 13 Jan 1845 Elizabeth   Doxford, of Bedford Street, age: 62, timber merchant’s wife, died 7 Jan,   vault 47

Here is an interesting article on Villiers Street from the Sunderland Antiquarians:

Here is an interesting article about the surrounding streets, from an 1892 Sunderland history – use your browser to search for “Bethel” to find your place; it occurs several times on the page.

The burials at Bethel Chapel were in underground vaults with alley-ways, which were added to the chapel in 1826. The 1827 Gazetteer of Durham says “Bethel Chapel, in Villiers-street, erected in 1817 and enlarged in 1826, is under the Congregational or Independent order of church government, and the Rev. Thomas Stratten is the present minister. A cemetery, constructed upon a novel plan, has just been attached to this chapel; it consists of long narrow vaults, arched over with brick work, all of which are approached through one entrance, so secured as to preclude the possibility of the bodies being feloniously disinterred.”  In 2006, a ground-penetrating radar survey was carried out by Ian Farmer Associates at the site of the Bethel Chapel at 12-14 Villiers Street.  The report summary says, “A complex presence of interconnecting tunnels and vaults were identified and there may have been three areas used for burial. “  Here is an article about locating the crypt in 2010:

Marriage bonds 1827-1828

984 marriage bonds filed in 1827 and 18286 in the Diocese of Durham. These are brand new, not previously in the bond index.

In this period, marriage bonds often provide ages, occupations, place of residence, and sometimes a father or mother for the bride and groom during a period when marriage registers did not provide that information. Please read the Marriage Bonds section of the Transcription Samples page for a description of what information is found in bonds, allegations, and associated documents, and how we present that information.


  • 27 Dec 1827 John Iceton      (widower), age 45, of Sedgefield, County Durham obtained a licence to      marry Margaret Storow (spinster), age 21 and upwards, of Auckland      St.Andrew, County Durham, directed to St.Andrew
  • 21 Apr 1828 Joseph      Heslop (stonemason, bachelor, minor with consent of his father), age 18,      of Barnard Castle, County Durham, son of John Heslop, obtained a licence      to marry Alice Kane (spinster, with consent of her father ), age 17, of      Darlington, County Durham, daughter of John Kane, directed to Darlington

Marriage bonds cover the entire Diocese of Durham i.e. Durham, Northumberland, North Yorkshire. There are a few licences in the collection that were issued by York. Because bonds cover the whole diocese, there is no way to limit your search of bonds to a single district. If you select a district from the District menu, your selection will be ignored when the marriage bonds database is searched.

Whitburn and Gateshead Fell marriage witnesses added

  • added 998 witnesses to  the 494 marriages at Gateshead Fell St. John, from the start of that parish in 1825 to the beginning of civil registration on 1 July 1837. Also added one marriage missed the first time around.
  • added 308 witnesses to the 106 marriages at Whitburn St. Mary from the start of 1813 to the  beginning of civil registration on 1 July 1837. There are now the witnesses      transcribed for all Whitburn marriages, from when witnesses started appearing in 1754
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Facebook and other social media and genealogy

Top 10 of the countries with more users in Fac...

Top 10 of the countries with more users in Facebook Español: Top 10 de los países con más usuarios en Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a mistaken view that only young people are using Facebook but recent figures show it is moving into the mainstream. Only 14% of Facebook users are under the age of 24. Forty six per cent of Facebook users are over the age of 45 http://mashable.com/2012/03/09/social-media-demographics/More than 66% of adults are connected to one or more social media platforms, but who exactly are these people?

The infographic below, created by Online MBA, breaks down the demographics, including education level, income, age and gender of social media users, along with other miscellaneous facts.

Some sites’ users are more demographically alike than others. One thing is the same for most social sites — college students, or those who have completed some college, represent the majority on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Digg and Reddit.  Among Facebook users, 57% have completed some college, and 24% have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Although, people 45 and older make up 46% of Facebook users.

Social media sites are also seeing a gender split — women use social media more than men. More women are on Facebook and Twitter. About 57% of Facebook and 59% of Twitter users are women.

Women gravitate toward Pinterest and young, techie men hang out on Google+. Pinterest has the heaviest gender imbalance — 82% of users are women, who pin crafts, gift ideas, hobbies, interior design and fashion. On the other spectrum, Google+ is dominated by men (71%) and early adopters, engineers and developers. About 50% of Google+ users are 24 or younger.

LinkedIn reports an even ratio of men and women — 49% over age 45 — who use the site to connect with other business professionals.

Most people use social media to stay in touch with friends and family, and more are doing so while on the go. About 200 million Facebook users check their Timelines from their mobile devices every day.

Many of us use it for our genealogy research and have made many contacts there.  Why not check out your surname to see who there is?

Related articles



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The motto appears on a scroll beneath the shie...

The motto appears on a scroll beneath the shield of the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Harleian Society is a registered charity first established in 1869 and later incorporated in 1902. The official objects of the Society are “the transcribing, printing and publishing of the heraldic visitations of counties, parish registers or any manuscripts relating to genealogy, family history and heraldry“.

Until a couple of years ago back copies of their publications were available in PDF on a CD from the Archive CD Books Project.  Unfortunately, following the retirement of the Project’s founder, Rod Neep, the UK operation closed down.  However, copies are still available through the Project’s partners in Ireland, Australia, Canada and the USA.

With the advent of the Web Archive a number of the Harleian Society’s ” out of copyright” publications have been scanned and uploaded onto the Internet.  Listed below are all the Volumes produced by the Harleian Society up to 2008.  Those that are available online have a hyperlink attached to the Volume number.

One of  my favourites is



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WhatWasThere photograph project

I’ve written before about the History Pin Project: http://www.historypin.com and now there is a similar website.  It states:

‘The WhatWasThere project was inspired by the realization that we could leverage technology and the connections it facilitates to provide a new human experience of time and space – a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past.

The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world (or at least any place covered by Google Maps). So wherever you are in the world, take a moment to upload a photograph and contribute to history!  If you have a question or want to find out more about this project, contact us at info@whatwasthere.com.  WhatWasThere was created in Ann Arbor, Michigan by Enlighten Ventures, LLC.’

So far there are no entries for Cumbria, North Yorkshire  or Scotland so it is worth checkig it out and adding your own photos.

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It is now possible to hear CUMSTON people speaking on line and one such link is on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnoWIzkhmC4 where you can hear 1st Ward Council Member Ralph Cumston giving his reaction after Mayor Scott Schertzer gives the “State of the City” Address on Jan. 24, 2011

You can read more about Ralph here on my blog at https://cumpstonresearch.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/ralph-cumston-city-of-marion-ohio/

Ralph, if you see this I would love to give you a page on my website at www.cumpston.org.uk so please do get in touch



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Hallet & Cumston piano makers

Hallet, Davis & Co. piano forte manufactory

Hallet, Davis & Co. piano forte manufactory (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

I often receive queries about the history of Hallet and Cumston pianos and requests to value pianos.  I regret I know nothing about pianos but I do know something of this particular line.

HALLET & DAVIS PIANO COMPANY HISTORY: The Hallet & Davis Piano Company (spelled “Hallett & Davis” in earlier years) is one of America’s more historical and illustrious makers. The firm was originally established as Brown & Hallet in 1835, and their factory was located on Washington Street in Boston. In 1843, Brown retired and George Davis joined the firm. Davis retired in about 1847, and Hallet became part of Hallet, Cumston & Allen. Allen resigned from the firm, and in 1850 he formed the Brown & Allen Piano Company. With Allen gone, Hallet & Cumston formed partnership, building pianos under both the “Hallet & Davis” and the “Hallet & Cumston” names. In about 1879, the business was incorporated as “Hallet, Davis & Company” and the “Hallet & Cumston” name was dropped.
The Hallet & Davis Piano Company was known for building very high quality, expensive pianos during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. They offered a full line of square, upright and grand pianos until about 1890 when they discontinued the square piano and increased production on the ever more popular upright. After the turn-of-the-century, they built a full line of high-quality player pianos under the brand names of Virtuoloa, Underwood & Sons, and Bowen. After the Great Depression, Hallet & Davis became part of the large Aeolian American Corporation, and the Hallet & Davis name was built by Aeolian until the 1980s era. Today, the Hallet & Davis name is being applied to Asian import pianos.

You can read a full story about the piano designer on my website at  http://www.cumpston.org.uk/#/hallett-cumston-piano/4535432388

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Cumston Hall, Monmouth, Maine

Cumston Hall is a historic library in downtown Monmouth, Maine. It was completed in 1900 and is named in honor of Dr. Charles M. Cumston, a former teacher at the English High School in Boston, who gave the Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne Style building to Monmouth equipped with a library and auditorium. Cumston chose Harry Hayman Cochrane (1860–1946), a muralist, to design and decorate it.

Today, Cumston Hall is the home of the Cumston Public library, the Theatre at Monmouth, Monmouth Community Players, and many local activities. In the summer, the hall’s auditorium becomes a series of grand theatrical performances from the Theater at Monmouth, in the business since 1970. This is the main draw for people living outside of Monmouth to come and see this landmark.

Cumston Hall has been on the United States National Register of Historic Places since the 1970s.  You can read more about Charles on my website at http://www.cumpston.org.uk/#/cumpston-hall-monmouth-usa/4533712856


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Obituary William John CUMPSTON Nottingham December 2011

Can anyone help me with this obituary kindly
sent to me by Marion Gray a colleague from
the Guild of One Name Studies.

William John CUMPSTON was the husband of Ellen and father to Melanie, Cindy and Emma.  Grandfather to Toby.

Published in the Nottingham Post on 4th January 2012  (Distributed in Mansfield, Nottingham)

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School registers

Ancestry has added School registers, which give an amazing amount of family information.
London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911

This is a collection of School Admission and Discharges for schools in London. This collection contains more than a million students from 843 different schools. In 1833, Parliament started to provide money for the construction of schools for poor children, although it was still largely a private affair. Mandatory schooling was a local decision until 1870, when children were required to attend from age 5 to 10. By 1918, education was required up to the age of 14.

These records are lists of children who were admitted to and discharged from schools. When education was required, children could be discharged from their schooling if they were needed to work to help support the family. The records vary by school and some are more detailed than others. The records include:

  • Admission Date Name Parents’ names Parents’ occupation Address Birth date Age

I could find no CUMPSTON entries but there is one for Laura COMPSTON aged 5 born 16 Nov 1871 admitted in 1877 to St John The Evangelist School, Camden London.  Her father’s name was John. The home address is given as 13 Fisher Street. Reference LCC/EO/DIV03/STJOH2/AD/002.  I could find no other information about her, including from census records so I wonder who she was.  Does anyone recognise this family?



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Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum have started adding photos of IWW soldiers to Flickr.  See http://www.flickr.com/photos/imperialwarmuseum/sets/72157629487462489/with/6797269742/

These images are amongst the first items collected by   IWM when it was founded in 1917 to record everybody’s experiences of the First World War.  In some cases, bereaved families donated their only photograph. Some have only a name, rank and unit.

First World War Centenary at IWM will be uploading new images to Faces of the First World War each week day between now and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in August 2014.  Find out more about this First World War Centenary project at www.1914.org/faces.  All of these photos tell a story. The men shown in them fought and often died for Britain and the Commonwealth.
What is their story? The full story is not always known.  They need your help to fill in the blanks. Do you have any information to add to what is already here? What more can you find out and tell  about their life?
Get involved Add your comments, information and any links, images or text to the photos to share and remember those life stories almost 100 years after the war.
Your Faces of the First World War Since opening up Faces of the First World War they’ve had a number of requests from people wishing to share First World War portraits in their possession. We’d like to invite you to do so in our new group right here on Flickr, Your Faces of the First World War

  • Ukniwm (cumpstonresearch.wordpress.com)
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