Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Events and Working as Family History Missionaries


Dear Family and Friends,


It all started on Wednesday. We had finished work at The Archives and were unable to get the train from Kew Garden’s Station because of a breakdown on the track. We ended up taking bus 391 from the stop down the road. The bus was packed with people, kids and a couple of unhappy babies- there might even have been a dog. We stood in the aisle. Forty five minutes later we arrived at Hammersmith Station and took the train the rest of the way to Earl’s Court. We had the same difficulty Friday evening- this time it was a signal error. On Saturday, we knew ahead of time that the train was not running between Earl’s Court and Kew Garden’s Station so we left early as we needed to open our area at The National Archives by 9:00 am.

Saturday evening we stopped at the grocery and carried 2 bags with us onto bus 328 for the ride from Earl’s Court to our flat. I held Ken’s brief case because he was holding the groceries. We got off the bus and walked the couple of blocks to our flat. Just as we got to our gate Ken said. “Where’s my briefcase?”  I had left it on the bus. I felt awful but realized that we might be able to run and catch the bus at the stop before it turned up the King’s Road. Ken threw the groceries into our courtyard and we both took off running to see if we could catch the bus. There were some pretty important  things in the brief case, including all of the information for a presentation we were scheduled to give our ward on Sunday. We couldn’t catch the bus so we ran down to the King’s Road and tried to get another bus so we could catch up with the briefcase. Meanwhile we saw a 328 coming the other direction towards us so we ran across the street and got on. The driver was very sympathetic when we told him our story and he radioed the dispatcher. We rode the bus until the dispatcher called back. He said they has located the briefcase and were holding it for us at the end of the route. We got off the bus, ran back to the King’s Road and found a cab to take us to the end of the route. There stood 2 bus drivers with big smiles on their faces holding the briefcase. Everyone that helped us was wonderful. I love the 328 bus drivers!

That evening we planned to go over a power point presentation on family history we made to show our ward. We had carried a projector home from the Archives earlier that week. When we opened the case carrying what we thought was the projector, we realized that it wasn’t the projector but our presentation computer. We couldn’t believe it. The presentation was the next morning and we had no projector!

We were very fortunate that we were able to get ahold of the counselor in the bishopric with whom we have been working and he arranged for another member to bring his projector. We thought we were home free. We set up the projector and my computer in the chapel and were ready to begin. Bishop Lee got up to give an introduction and the projector suddenly went off. Someone had accidently pulled the power cord out of the socket. I thought this has to be a terrible nightmare that goes on and on.

Our story ends happily. We were able to get the projector back on before the Bishop finished and carry on with the presentation.


When we got back to the flat Sunday afternoon we just looked at each other and then collapsed. No lasting affects except Ken’s shins hurt from the run to The King’s Road.


Working as a Family History Missionary

The other day a gentleman asked for my help in finding information on an ancestor. He was actually at the Archives doing research on the Titanic for a book he was writing. He has written several other books which are presently for sale in the Archive’s store. We found the birth record for his ancestor and then I showed him how to search the census records to find more information about his family. It was extremely interesting because the family was quite wealthy and lived in a large manor house in Norfolk. In one of the censuses there were 3 pages on the census that included all the servants who worked at the manor house.

A couple from Australia has been coming into our area at the Archives for several weeks. They are in the UK for 9 months doing family history research and seeing the sights. They had  just planned on staying in London for a couple of days until they realized that they could do more by coming to us than traveling to the various parishes where their ancestors had lived.

A lady whose ancestors are from Grenada frequently comes to do research with us. The other day as I was doing a scan for her she said that from the records she has found using FamilySeach and our microfilms, she was able to trace an aunt who moved to the US. She was then able to locate this aunt in Florida and is now in contact with that branch of her family.

I mentioned above that we were able to present information to our Ward about family history work and indexing during our combined meeting on Sunday. We were so pleased to be invited to do this. We have been bringing our laptops to church for the past month to help people individually and we will continue to do this. We love to help the patrons who come to The National Archives but it is very satisfying to be able to help our own members do their family history. We love this work!

We went to a wonderful musical with the Inskeeps and the Robertsons on our last P day. It was George and Ira Gershwin's musical comedy, Crazy for You, at the Novello Theatre in the west end.




It was a crazy week but we love our mission and are still smiling.

Our best to all of you!

Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)




Saturday, January 21, 2012

History, World War I Diaries and British Money


Dear Family and Friends,

You can’t be in London and not be aware of the history around you at every turn. Sometimes I feel as if we are living in the past. We spend much of our time searching out those who lived in times past and are surrounded by buildings and other reminders of the past. One such reminder is our project at The National Archives working on the World War I war diaries. As we sort through the archive boxes, we gain an insight into what conditions were like for those in the British military fighting in the trenches in France and in other places.

I am always interested to go through a diary that includes November 11, 1918, the day the armistice was signed between Germany and the Allies. The signing took place in a railway carriage in the Compiègne Forest and took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

clip_image002                    Railway carriage in the forest of Compiègne

Sometimes in a diary entry for November 11 it simply says “Armistice signed” or “cessation of hostilities at 11.00”. The other day I ran across a longer entry. “Hostilities will cease at 11.00 hours today. Troops will stand fast at the line reached at that hour…defense precautions will be maintained. There will be no intercourse with the enemy until receipt of instructions… These tidings were immediately communicated to all ranks, being received quietly and without expression. Duties were carried out as usual, discipline being relaxed in no way by reason of the cessation of hostilities.”

Ken found one entry for 11 November that said, “At 8.30 a telephone message was received from Brigade to say that hostilities would cease at 11.00 hours.” The following day the entry read “The Battalion was occupied in cleaning up and drill practices.” It seems as though they were carrying on as usual. Another diary had an interesting entry for the day after cessation of hostilities. “Reorganizing, preparing for the march to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation” and on the next day, “March to Germany began.”


When we celebrate Veteran’s Day in the US it is because of that armistice signed at the closing of World War I in the forest of Compiègne. John McCrae, a Canadian doctor serving in the Armed Forces, was so touched by what he saw in northern France that, in 1915 he wrote  the poem "In Flanders Field”.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



In the UK on Remembrance Day, the 11th of November, most people wear poppies to remember those who gave their lives in war. I have a couple of those poppies that I will bring home with me.


The diaries are either handwritten or typed and contain a daily account of the operations of a particular military unit. The kinds of information vary with the type of military unit. For example, in the diary of a Field Ambulance unit you see numbers of causalities. Mostly, they have names of the officers who were killed or wounded but sometimes they mention the names of enlisted men.

John Robertson came across a description of the food rations given to soldiers. “No fresh vegetables, dried figs issued in lieu, occasional rice issues in lieu of bread. Other rations, Bacon M+V. Spanish Onions. Chestnuts, Jam Tinned beef. Tinned Pork+Beans. Milk. Rum. A small quantity of the Milk ration saved in the day, is heated up at night + served mixed with Rum. Ration to men at tattoo.”

Ken found some drawings of hand held bombs containing small bits of metal. One was called a “hair brush bomb” because of its shape. There are also detailed drawings of the trenches.


In the Veterinary Corps diaries, much is said about the horses. At the beginning of the war there was apparently a large cavalry but trench warfare made cavalry charge impossible and the horses were later used mostly for transport of materials and equipment. The road conditions made travel very difficult. John Robertson said that in one diary it said that motor transport had made the roads like glass and the horses were unable to stand.


It also appears that there was a lot of mud. In the veterinary reports, conditions as mange and glanders were commonly reported among the horses.

John Robertson found an entry from medical unit that read, “Owing to wet weather and the saturated condition of the new trenches which are being dug, 25 cases of ‘Trench foot’ have been admitted. Anti-frostbite grease was asked for by me through A.A. & Q.M.G…”

Trench foot was a condition caused by the damp, cold condition in the trenches. By late 1915, the soldiers were told to carry 3 pair of socks with them, change them at least twice a day and cover their feet with grease. It is estimated that about 20,000 in the British military suffered from trench foot which could result in gangrene and amputation of the limb.

What an interesting project is is but it includes a lot of sadness. 

We have quite enjoyed getting to know one of our regular patrons, an English gentleman, Mr. Hale.


The other day he brought in some old English money to show us.


At the top is a pound note; in the center is a copper pence; at the bottom are a farthing, ha'penny, penny, thrupenny bit, sixpence, shilling, florin and a half crown. The oldest coins have an image of Queen Victoria and the newer ones the monarchs who followed her. Mr. Hales pointed out that every time a monarch changes, the direction of their profile on the coin also changes.

After the Norman Conquest in 1166, a pound was divided into 20 shillings or 240 pennies. This remained the case until decimalization in 1971, when the pound was divided into 100 pence.

Today in the UK the currency is the pound sterling. The symbol is £ .There are coins and bank notes. The coins are 1 penny, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound, and 2 pounds. The bank notes are the 5 pound note, the 10 pound note, the 20 pound note and the 50 pound note. We are getting really good with the money as we have to balance our cash box every day. I’ve stopped saying dollars when I mean pounds. The exchange rate today is 1 British pound = 1.5525 U.S. dollars.


Birthdays at Home

We have 2 grandsons having birthdays the first week of February.

Happy 14th, Joseph!


Happy 13th Nick!


These guys are both very active and adventuresome teenagers. We are proud of you Joseph and Nick!


Our best to all of you!

Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The King’s Road, Family History and the End of the Holidays 2011


Dear Friends and Family,

The very first Saturday we were in England, we took a walk down the King’s Road in Chelsea, where we live. Below is painting of King’s Road by Faith Sheppard done in 1940. Except for the vehicle it doesn’t look much different today.


On our walk we started at a district in Chelsea called the World’s End. The World's End is the part of Chelsea lying at the western end of the King’s Road. It was named after a tavern. The original World's End Tavern was built before 1790. A later pub was built in the mid-19th century and replaced in 1897 by the building we pass today as we walk up the road.







The King’s Road was named in honor of King Charles II and was his private road from Westminster to Fulham Palace. From there he could take a boat on to Hampton Court Palace.





The road itself dates back to 704. King Charles also used the road to visit his mistress Nell Gwyn. 

The road remained private until 1830 and today runs for about 2 miles from Fulham to Sloan Square.



Chelsea is shaped like a horse's head with the World's End as its snout. Fulham Road runs east west along the top, the King’s Road runs parallel in the middle and the lower road next to the River Thames is the Chelsea Embankment. We live on one of the streets in the “snout” running northwest from the King’s Road. Sloan’s Square is shown on the eastern end of the “head”.


Family History

During the past year as we have been working as Family History missionaries, we have learned a lot about tracing a family tree.  One of the things that helps in doing research is to search in the census. This is true of UK as well as US research. The census can provide valuable information about our ancestors:

  • Where they were living
  • Who they were living with
  • What their occupations were
  • If they had servants
  • Who their neighbors were
  • If they had brothers and sisters
  • What their ages were at the time of the census
  • If they had any disabilities

The US census began in 1790 and is taken every 10 years. The last was taken in 2010. The 1940 census will be released online on April 2, 2012. There is a 72 year privacy restriction on US censuses.

In the UK,  a census also takes place every 10 years.  The most recent census took place on 27 March 2011 and we had to fill out a census form. The most recent census to be released is the 1911 census. In the UK there is a 100-year rule to protect privacy.

When research takes you to the time before the fist modern census (1841) and before the beginning of civil registration (1837) you have to go to the parish records.

In some parishes, records started being recorded in 1538. A law had been passed ordering the clergy to record births, marriages and deaths. This provides invaluable information to a person searching out their family. Most of the parish records have been microfilmed by our church and an index of them is available on FamilySearch. If you watched the Royal Wedding of William and Kate last April you might recall that after the ceremony in Westminster Abbey, Kate and William went into a private chapel to sign the wedding register.

When our patrons come to us in our area on the first floor at The National Archives and want to see images from the parish records, we help them locate the microfilm they need to view. We have over 63,000 microfilms with us that include parish records.

The Church has microfilmed church records from all over the world. The other day I was doing a scan for a young man from Brazil. His grandfather had immigrated from Italy to Brazil many years before. He told me that the images he had found on the microfilms were his great-grandparents birth records and he had been looking for them for 5 years. He and his grandfather had even traveled to Italy to find where their family was from. They had spent several days going from village to village in an area not too far from Naples. Many of the churches they visited said their records were lost during the war. On the last day of their visit they found his great-grandfather's name on a census. From that census they were able to identify a village and then order the microfilm of the church record from the Family History Library in Salt Lake. The film arrived at our Centre and he came to view it. He was so excited to finally find what he and his grandfather had been searching for. I emailed the image to his grandfather in Brazil.

John Robertson, one of the Family History missionaries, related the following, “I happened to be sitting next to a woman while working on the WW I diaries. In the course of our conversation, she asked what we were doing here in England. When she found out that we were from the London Family History Centre that she knew so well, she said how wonderful the elders were that had helped her so much. She said, "I'm so glad to meet an elder today."

Ken and I had a similar experience while we were working on the war diaries. One of the English volunteers expressed to us how much the Church has done for family history research by having the IGI and now FamilySearch available to the public.

It’s very nice to feel appreciated by people who love the work as much as we do.

End of the Holidays

A few days after Christmas we were able to get tickets to see the Nutcracker with the Robertsons and Inskeeps. It was at the London Coliseum and was a beautiful production.




 On New Year’s Eve we had dinner with the other senior missionaries at Sharon’s flat and celebrated the coming of 2012 at Vienna time- 10:00 UK time.







Riley’s First Birthday

On that very first Saturday as we were on the King’s Road my phone rang. It was Kelly and Curtis announcing the birth of their new baby. It’s hard to believe that baby Riley will be celebrating his first birthday on January 15th. I can’t wait to get home and get some of those bear hugs!


Emily and Elizabeth Baptism

Our granddaughters, Emily and Elizabeth, were baptized yesterday. We are so proud of you darling girls!



Our best to all!

Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)