Saturday, 2 May 2015

The White House

There is, what must have once been, a wonderful house called The White House which stands proudly over looking Barricane Cove in Woolacombe.

It is, now, in a very sorry state. (pictures taken 10 April 2015).

I had to Google it to try and find out who owned it and why it had been left in such a state.  There were a few pictures that had been posted to the internet by other people showing the house in a better state of repair and if the dates of the photos are correct the house has deteriorated considerably in the past 12 months.

I couldn't find any details on the internet of the house having been sold in 'recent' years.  I know if I Google my own postcode and go into Zoopla I can see house sales going back to 1996.  But looking on my phone I couldn't find any sales details for The White House.  I have just checked Zoopla again for The White House, The Esplanade, Woolacombe and it lists all the properties sold in the The Esplanade, Woolacombe EX34 7DJ and the list goes back to 1995 but nothing for The White House.

I decide, at the time, to search the name in newspaper articles and since I have a current subscription to Find My Past I started there first.  This is what I found.

Situations Vacant

WORKING Housekeeper wanted by 2 ladies, labour-saving house on 'bus route. N. Devon coast; Aga cooker; comfortable home offered; good references required. Mother and child not objected to - Apply, Colville, White House, Woolacombe. 4618 

Situations Vacant

COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run small lab.-svg. house, on 'bus route; 2 in family; would suit 2 friends or mother and child.—Write Miss Bury, The White House. Woolacombe, N. Devon

Situations Vacant

COMFORTABLE HOME with salary offered to run small labour-saving house, on 'bus route; 2 in family. Would suit two friends or mother and child. —Write, Bury The White House, Woolacombe, N Devon. 5623 

Situations Vacant

COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run small lab.-svg. house, on 'bus route; 2 in family; would suit friends or mother and child.—Write Miss Bury. The White House. Woolacombe. N. Devon

Situations Vacant

COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run small lab.-svg. house 'bus route; 2 in family; /would suit 2 friends or mother and child.—Write Miss Bury. The White House. Woolacombe. N. Devon


The Merchant Navy Comforts Service has received a donation of £3 2s. 6d., sent by Miss V. M. Bury, The White House, Woolacombe. The money was realised by the sale of seaweed, which was gathered by a band of willing workers (W.V.S.) organised by Miss Bury to be used in the cultivation of penicillin.

Situations Vacant

COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run lab.-svg. house on 'bus route; 2 , in family; would suit 2 friends or mother and child of school age.—Write Miss Bury. The White House. Woolacombe. N. Devon

N.F.S. Activities

The N.F.S. has been called to the following chimney fires:...

24th, White House, Woolacombe (Section- Leader Butler)


1937 ROVER, 14h.p.; 1 owner; immaculate condn.; 7 tyres (3 new). Nearest offer £450. Taking delivery post-war car.—Miss Bury, The White House, Woolacombe.

Assertion at Mortehoe Parish Council

Grass and Weeds

The council received a letter from Miss Berry, of The White House, Woolacombe, complaining that grass and weeds were growing along the front and on the council's property. It stated that this presented a danger to adjacent gardens, because the seeds might be blown over, and also to children, because glass might become concealed in the grass.

The chairman (Mr. C. G. Yeo) said he had received an offer from a local firm to cut the grass for £3. and it was decided that his should be accepted.

"Whoever accepted the gift of the recreation ground for the parish council accepted a liability." commented the Rev. G. A. Carter. The council were not allowed to build on their land, he said, nor could they be permitted to fence it. The land should have been handed back at the time, but he feared it was now too late.

Mr. P.A. Johnston replied that he would like to see the council own a lot more land on the front. He asked if information about the probability of other land becoming available for purchase 
could be obtained.

14 July 1949 - North Devon Journal - Barnstaple, Devon, England

If you search for Miss V. M. Bury on Find My Past it brings up 23 articles with various mentions of Woolcombe, Westerham, District Girl Guides Commissioner and plenty about bird migration. I can imagine her on the balcony of The White House looking for the birds. In fact one of the articles I have just found says:

While on the subject of migration, I must mention a very interesting note sent to me by Miss V. M. Bury, of Woolacombe. Her garden is on the edge of the cliffs, and on October 12 a party of about a dozen long-tailed tits flew in from the sea and passed inland up the valley.  The previous day a westerly gale had been blowing.  Whence had these birds come?
I wondered whether they had arrived from Lundy Island, but on looking up the various published lists of birds which have occurred there I can find only one mention on this species.  On the two visits, each lasting some days, which I have paid to the island, I did not see it.  Or they may have come from Wales, using Lundy as a stepping stone.
Miss Bury also tells me that on October 26 she saw a a party of tits tumbling about high up in the air as rooks do.  I do not remember seeing long-tailed behave in this way, and I think it is unusual.  But they must have had a tempestuous passage from Lundy - or Wales.

Miss Bury also saw a cock snow-bunting at Mortehoe on November 6.  It flew along the road, settling several times twenty yards in front of her.  There had been a gale 24 hours earlier.  Snow-buntings are usually very tame.  I have in years past often watched them picking up grit on the road to the Cat and Fiddle Inn, near Buxton, and they seemed quite indifferent to my presence.

When Google searching for Miss V M Bury, The White House, Woolacombe it comes up with a few references to the List of Members for Lundy and in the 1947 list she is shown as Miss Violet M. Bury, The White House, Woolacombe.  The same list mentions - Hon. Margaret Colville, J.P., The White House, Woolacombe.  Which I assume is the Colville mentioned in the first article.  And makes up the 2nd person mentioned in the situations vacant advertisements.

If you Google "Hon. Margaret Colville" it brings up numerous references.  According to a variety of websites the Hon. Margaret Colville was born in 1886. She died on 30 April 1975. Her brother was the Hon. John Gilbert Colville and he had a house around the corner from her in Woolacombe.

I did do loads more research but typically I went off researching on my phone and a month later I try and write it up...

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Genealogist

Very disappointing experience with The Genealogist (@thegenealogist) so far.

I have in the recent past used Ancestry and still have a current subscription with Find My Past. Both of which I have used without any problems.

I enjoyed the talk given by The Genealogist at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in Brum on Friday so I decided to take a risk and sign up to their offer of a Diamond subscription for £98.95.

The first worrying sign was having to complete a piece of paper and write down my credit card details.  All this so called fancy technology and yet they can't even process a payment at the NEC?  Then I was told I would get a temporary password (not sure why) on Monday!!!! - four days later so I wouldn't even be able to use the site until then. When I asked why I was told it was because that would be when they are back in the office.  Oh, dear I thought.  How small is this company and are they going to be able to deliver on the promises made in the presentation?

I eagerly waited for today.  Just after 1 pm (whilst out) I received the promised email with the temporary password.  I've just tried to log on and get - Sorry, please check your email and password.

So I look for the contact us details - Lines open Monday to Friday 9-5

It's now just after 6 pm. This is not how to run a business in this day and age.

Update - I decided to take a risk and click the forgotten password link.  The gentleman who did the presentation apparently built the website so I figured if my email address has been registered by their office then technically it should be able to reset my password.  It appears to have worked.

Or maybe it hasn't - looks like I was registered on this site before as my subscription details shows this rather than the Diamond subscription I have apparently purchased.
BMD Records 1837-2005Expired10th December 200510 December 200610th December 2006
Update 2 - I have just read the emails again and have figured out what went wrong.  They have registered my email with the first letter as an i instead of as an l.  I had just assumed that since I received the emails from them the email address was correct.   A paper system works then...

Update 3 - and now apparently I am MALE!!!! Not impressed!.

Update 4 - see comments from Mark @ The Genealogist.

Update 5 - clickable versions of the links provided by Mark in his comments below.

We have a research guide for TreeView available at

We also have some general tutorial videos on using the site here:

Issue Resolved - I feel so relieved. I may have had a few teething problems but knowing that someone at The Genealogist is looking out for mentions and taking the time to respond out of office hours and actually fix the problem is really refreshing and re-assuring.  Thank you Mark.

Happy Hunting...

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 52: Elizabeth Buckler (1816-1839) Birmingham, England

Elizabeth Buckler was born in 1816 as the first child of Nehemiah Buckler and Sarah Webster. She died on 26 January 1839 possibly as a result of complications with child birth. When she was 21, she married Edward Mitchell, son of Robert Mitchell and Elizabeth Gostelow (?), on 23 December 1837 in St Bartholomew, Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England.  Her address at the time of her marriage in Constitution Hill, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

Edward Mitchell and Elizabeth Buckler had the following known child:
  • Elizabeth Mitchell was born on 20 January 1839 in 217 New John Street West, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 51: Mary Clive nee Allender, Warwickshire, England

Mary Allender was born in 1787 in Aston, Warwickshire, England. She died on 7 March 1855. When she was 21, she married Daniel Clive, son of George Clive and Lydia Harper, on 9 May 1808 in St Peter and Paul Aston Juxta Birmingham.

Daniel Clive and Mary Allender had the following known children:
  • Lydia Clive was born on 19 December 1808 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.
  • Rebecca Clive was born on 22 July 1810 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.
  • Sabre Clive was born on 29 June 1812 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.
  • Mary Ann Clive was born on 03 July 1814 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.
  • Esther Clive was born on 24 March 1816 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 50: Hannah Hollis nee Thompson - Staffordshire, England

Hannah Thompson was born in February 1816 as the first child of Job Thompson and Mary Hollis. She had five siblings, namely: George, William, George, Mary, and John. 

Hannah Thompson was christened on 28 February 1816 in Rolleston, Staffordshire, England. She lived in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England in 1851 and in St Werburgh,, Derby, Derbyshire, England in 1861.

Thomas Hollis and Hannah Thompson had the following known children:
  • Alice Hollis was born in 1839 in Anslow, Staffordshire, England.
  • Mary Hollis was born in 1841 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England.
  • John Hollis was born in 1844 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England.
  • Isabel Hollis was born in 1852 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 49: Peter Pitts (born c 1818) and lived in India

Peter Pitts was born in 1818. When he was 19, he married Elizabeth Merit on 17 March 1837 in Allipore Bengal, India.

Peter Pitts and Elizabeth Merit had the following known children:

  • Louisa Pitts was born in 1838. She died about 1839.
  • Robert Pitts was born in 1839. He died in 1840.
  • Caroline Amelia Pitts was born on 10 April 1841 in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India (FamilySearchBeta C75004-6 India-EASy 498979). She died on 11 November 1854 in Peshawar, West Bengal, India (FamilySearchBeta B39237-5 India-EASy 498992). She married Charles William Henry Pitts on 03 April 1854 in Peshawar, West Bengal, India (FamilySearchBeta M75017-1 India- EASy 498992).

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 48: John Twiss (1817-1866) Birmingham, England

John Twiss was born on 17 December 1817 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England as the first child of John Twiss and Sarah Foxall. He died on 8 January 1866 in Aston Villa Lozells-lane Aston. When he was 20, he married Elizabeth Arnold,daughter of Mary Dell, on 28 October 1838 in St Peter's Church, Harborne, Staffordshire, England.  He was buried on 12 Jan 1866 in All Saints, Hockley, Warwickshire, England.

John Twiss and Elizabeth Arnold had the following known children:
  • Thomas Arnold Twiss was born on 14 September 1839 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. He married Elizabeth Beard on 27 October 1861 in St Thomas,, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
  • Emily Clara Twiss was born in April 1841 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.
  • Alice Arnold Twiss was born in July 1842 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.
  • Walter John Twiss was born in 1846 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. He died in 1904 in Aston, Warwickshire, England. He married Ada Sarah Pearman on 7 November 1864 in St Stephen, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.
  • Agnes Twiss was born in 1848 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.