Richard Heaton's Family History Homepage
A Brief Introduction to my Homepages Hosted by Rootsweb
I have been interested in Genealogy for some 28 years and was originally inspired to research my family history after reading Arthur J Willis's book "Genealogy for Beginners" - (a Hardback Version of which I purchased about 14 years of age from a local book shop) and from which time I've had enormous satisfaction in piecing together my own Ancestry.
When I first started my research, during my school holidays, I would take a train to London and visit Somerset House (for Wills), or Portugal Street (for census material), or even St.Catherines House (for those Birth Marriage and Death certificates). I even made a couple of visits on a day tickets to Harrington Gardens, then the home of the Society of Genealogists (I'm now a member of the SOG).
Over the last thirteen years or so I've put a lot of effort into researching one rare surname in particular - Spanswick, and what started as purely tracing my own ancestry soon became an attempt to link all the individuals bearing this surname, into one tree. I joined the Guild of One Name Studies a few years ago, at which point I really began to appreciate the size and complexity of what I'd started, and how difficult a task I'd set myself. Ten years or so on I've still digging into original primary source material and still looking for the links in Wiltshire and Berkshire to pull together one single tree, I suspect I'll still be looking in another ten years !
My One Name Study & Surname Interests
The links to my immediate surname interests including the Spanswick surname on the homepage lead to web pages giving a taste of the reseach I've done and which draw upon a mix of sources : photographs, extracts from Parish Registers, Wills, Directory's, etc. sources which hopefully bring life into my and doubtless many other families "family history".
By contrast the FreeFind search at the top of the webpage can take you into a the wider world of the C18th and C19th newspaper. My deep interest in family history led me many years ago to start examining newspapers as a research source, which in turn led to my transcripts of the Windsor & Eton Express (above). Over the years I'd bought a number of original newspapers from fairs, dealers, and bookshops, and so my current project transcribing "Local" newspapers was a natural next step.
The newspapers are largely 1750's-1840's, and cover most counties of England with a bias toward Wiltshire (I've been a member of WFHS for several years). You can join the viewers at a public hanging in Warminster; at a riot in Trowbridge; check wanted notices for absconded husbands and run away servants; listen as the highwayman gallops away; hear the cries of those on board a sinking ship; or drop in at a coffee house with Byron in St.Marks Square.
The content transcribed covers all local, and many national and international events of the day, in an attempt to give as true as possible a flavour of the life in Georgian and early Victorian England. In general a wilder, more violent, and more passionate life, than you might expect.
I hope you find something of interest ! And many thanks again to Rootsweb, and of course to you the reader, for visiting my Website.