Saturday, July 2, 2011

Charlotte Bronte, Sherlock Holmes and other Musings

Dear Family and Friends,
Ken and I are preparing a power point presentation, Comparing Online British Censuses, to present July 26th. The British census was taken every ten years starting in 1801, with the exception of 1941 during World War II. Since the 1801-1831 censuses no longer exist, the only ones of value to those searching their family history date from 1841. I decided to use Charlotte Bronte as the person I was searching for in 1851. I found Charlotte living with her father, Patrick, in Haworth, Yorkshire in 1851. He was born in Ireland.
This image, of the original census document, shows Charlotte and her father, whose occupation is ‘Incumbent or Perpetual Curate of Haworth, Bedford, Yorks’. Charlotte is shown as having no occupation. A friend of Charlotte’s, Ellen Nussey, is visiting and there are 2 servants in the household.
As I started finding records for Charlotte, I became curious about her life and started digging a little deeper. I found her marriage registration in the second quarter of 1854 to Arthur Bell Nicholls, her Father’s curate, and her death registration as Charlotte Nicholls in the second quarter of 1855. She died carrying a child at the age of 38.

In the 1861 census you find Patrick, age 84, living with his son-in-law, Arthur B. Nicholls, and 2 servants. They are both widowers.
As we do this work and search out these people they become very real to us. The records tell their stories or at least part of their stories. The gaps just encourage us to dig deeper and find out more about these people who lived before us. It makes it even more emotional when you are searching our your own family.
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One more word on the census. Since we are living in England during a census year, we had the opportunity to fill out the 2011 English census. Maybe a hundred years from now, someone will notice Ken and Cheryl Fugal, Americans, living on Fernshaw Road and wonder what they were doing in England.
Ken and I have always enjoyed stories about Sherlock Holmes and his associate and chronicler, Dr. Watson, so on our P-day a couple of weeks ago we took the tube to Baker Street Station and walked around the corner to 221B Baker Street.

Very fun stuff!

I was sitting in church at the North London Ward two weeks ago and  before church started a young man came and sat down next to me. I introduced myself and asked him if he was a member of the ward. He said his name was Chris Bishop and that he was from the United States. I asked where in the states and he started to explain that he was from a town not far from Chicago, called Elkhart. I was surprised and so was he when I told him that we had lived in Elkhart for 28 years and raised all of our children there! Chris just graduated from Concord High School and had attended Westside Middle School where I taught for 8 years. We had such a good time talking about all the people from Elkhart that we all knew. Chris was in England for a couple of weeks visiting his father, who is English. He asked me if I knew his seminary teacher, Vicki Gibson. He said that she had picked him up for early morning seminary every day. I told Chris that I had been Vicki’s seminary teacher and had picked her up for seminary every day.
We can tell that Chris is a outstanding young man and we were so pleased to be able to talk with him and reminisce about old friends.

Having a couple of free hours one day before we needed to be back at the Centre, we decided to take a bus over to Westminster and see Parliament and Big Ben up close.


We realized that the line was short and Parliament was in session and decided to go in and take a look. It was very interesting. We had to go through security much like an airport. They took our pictures and put them on lanyards that we had to wear. We were able to watch part of a session of the House of Commons. No pictures were allowed but I found this image online. We were in the upper gallery looking down on the proceedings. They were debating a law concerning circus animals. There was a lot of humor that we just didn’t understand but they did seem to be having a good time.

We learned that Parliament and government work together to form laws here in the UK. The government or Executive, develops and implements policy and drafts laws.Parliament is the legislative branch of the government and it examines and approves new laws and checks the work of government. The Parliament itself has three parts- the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Crown. In the House of Commons there are more than 600 elected Members of Parliament (MPs). Each MP represents a particular area of the UK. Most of the MPs declare allegiance to a particular party and the leader of the party with the most MPs is asked by the Queen to become the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister forms the government to manage the country.

On our last P-day we went to the Temple. We usually have to take the train but it was a Temple day for our ward and one of the members kindly picked us up at our door. We haven’t been in a car for months and it was fun to ride through south London and into the countryside. The Temple is beautiful and in a very peaceful setting in Surrey about an hour from London. It’s out of of our mission boundaries but we have permission to go once a quarter.


We wish a very happy birthday to two of our grandsons who both celebrate their birthdays July 7! What fine young men. We are so proud of you guys!
BryanSkiing2011Ryan R-0912
Happy 12th Bryan!                 Happy 5th Ryan!

Our going home count down is now under the year mark so we have been in London for over 6 months. The time has gone quickly. We have learned so much about family history and have met so many wonderful people. We feel that this mission is a  blessing to us and to our sweet family back home. We are glad we came.
Our love to all of you!
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)


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