Just Me, Nobody Special

Enjoy a browse in my world


FUELLED by a piece of family folklore I began researching my Father’s lineage to find the infamous “Lady Rachel Riley”, a young lady of Irish decent who was disinherited by her family for marrying beneath her; all very Bronte.   

USING genealogy web sites like and and obtaining copies of census reports and birth, marriage, death certificates, I have put together a history archive.

THE Riley family seem to have originated in the late 1700’s early 1800’s around Sapcote and Stoney Stanton in Leicestershire, working either at the Pretty Polly stocking factory or in the local stone quarry.  My paternal Grand Mother’s family have spread a little since their beginnings in Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire, reaching Cumbria, Lancashire, Hampshire and Norfolk.  It was work that moved a branch of my family to a quarry in Cumbria by the 1890’s, living in a remote out crop of houses with one mountain in the front garden and a second in the back garden.

EXPANDING my searching into my Mother’s side, the Howdle clan seemed to originate in Yorkshire before migrating to Staffordshire, mostly working in or around the coal mining industry.  We have a mystery in that an ancestor on the 1861 census was a property owner with several small cottages rented to mine workers, yet ten years later he was a postal worker in his retired years, how he came to lose his assets is something yet to be uncovered.

AFTER collating all the information and creating small profiles for each character, adding their birth, marriage and death certificates, I have a display book filled with the intriguing characters that spread, like roots, deep into several centuries into the past.  The Irish connection has been found but the titled gentry that "Lady Rachael' came from it still elusive.

DIG deep enough into any tree and you will uncover a nefarious character, and the same is true of mine.  From the Page family we ave a character who was tried for the murder of his fiancé, whom he suspected had been stepping out with another fellow.  He had strangled her while walking her home from the train station and there was evidence that he had attempted suicide.  Absconding to Derby he later handed himself in; as was the law in those days he was automatically sentenced to be hanged, but after an appeal this was commuted to life imprisonment.  At the outbreak of World War I prisoners were conscripted into the front line as it was felt their likelihood of survival was minimal and thus they were dispensable.  During the war he was mentioned in dispatches and handled himself honourably, after the war he was given his freedom.  He remained near Dartmouth where he married and raised a family.