Great British Family Names and Their History (What’s in a Name?) by John Moss

Published by Pen & Sword Books, 2019

Having very kindly been provided with a copy of this book by Pen & Sword, I was intrigued to see if it was indeed a “fascinating guide for genealogists and budding family historians wanting to learn more about their name and its history”.

Although as a Genealogist, family history is my job; sometimes we can forget that the facts we find are other people's family. I was reminded today of how much joy genealogy does bring to families. I carried out a research project for a client last year and today I received further news from her of how the work I had done was still bringing happiness to her family:

"I thought you'd be delighted to hear that I'm sitting here right now with two of my other uncles... looking at the family history and they are absolutely loving it! It is so special to be able to sit with them and share this so may I say thank you so much again."

Grace Ancestry - spreading the Joy of Genealogy.

Rather than me write about this; I asked my hubby to do it, as it is his story after all...…. It was the morning of the dreaded sort out. The garage/office awaited packed to the rafters with old family heirlooms, memorabilia, furniture and all manner of junk. Emptying the expensive storage unit had seemed like a great decision, there was a holiday in what that cost to keep; however, looking at the huge mountain whose foothills met me at the door of our outbuilding, the wisdom no longer seemed so sound. Down at the storage facility it was out of sight - out of mind, no difficult decisions to make about what to keep, what to sell or what to throw. At 9.30am on a sunny Saturday morning the prospect of a weekend of tackling emotions linked to all sorts of paraphernalia was just not appealing.

Today I had the privilege of sharing my research with the Cannington Shaw Preservation Trust in St Helens, held at the World of Glass.  I have carried out extensive research into the heritage of the families who made Cannington Shaw the important glass bottle works that it became.  Through their ancestry and lives, I was able to discover that John and Edwin Cannington and John Shaw made the perfect partnership when they joined together to form the company back in 1866.  All that remains of Cannington Shaw Bottle Works now is the No. 7 Bottle Shop, which housed a pioneering Siemens Regenerative Tank Furnace. It's now a race against time to save this historic listed building before it succumbs to the ravages of time.  Cannington Shaw Preservation Trust are endeavouring to secure funding to save the building for future generations.  My research continues into these, now mainly forgotten, important figures within the glass industry. this space.

In this 21st Century world, we are starting to get used to the rapid advance of technology and its impact in almost every corner of our daily lives. The cosy world of genealogy is no exception and recently much has been written about the pros and cons of taking a DNA test to discover ancestors. Hype surrounds it, its geographic mapping enabling claims that it can prove whether your ancestors were Romans or Vikings. However, what is acknowledged by academics is that it can be very useful in matching you with (up to) second cousins. 

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