OriginalAncestry Blog

Twitter and Facebook Giveaways! January 21 2018

OriginalAncestry is going to start something new!  Twitter and Facebook followers and friends will have opportunities to win free pre-1900 documents from the OriginalAncestry inventory.  In order to bring more awareness to the OriginalAncestry offerings, we want to do something fun.  Therefore, at random times, we are going to post a genealogy research question.  The first one to reply and give the right answer wins the document in the picture shown in the tweet or post!  The goal will be to try to do a giveaway pretty often so be sure to subscribe and be one of the first alerted so you can win!

OriginalAncestry Profiles August 30 2017

Sir William Bovill
by Laura Foor


Sir William Bovill was born in the year 1814. A well-known politician, lawyer, and judge, he also served as the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, until his death in 1873 at the age of 59.

Born in All Hallows, Barking, a residential town located in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, England, William Bovill was a popular man who went on to have quite an interesting career. Instead of attending university once he graduated from school, he went on to attend Middle Temple, where he practiced as a special pleader for a short period of time due to his interest in law.

In 1841, Bovill was called to the bar. He trained, specializing in engineering, which would eventually lead to a widespread commercial-focused patent practice.

In 1844, Bovill married Maria Bolton, a resident of Lee Park, Blackheath. Once married, they made their home in Worplesdon, specifically the Worplesdon Lodge, aka Worplesdon Place.

In 1855, Bovill was appointed as Queen’s Counsel.

In 1857, Bovill was chosen as Member of Parliament for Guildford.

In 1865, Bovill helped pass the Partnership Law Amendment Act, which is also known as Bovill’s Act. Because he had a passion for legal reforms, his name is also attached to the Petitions of Right Act.

In 1866, Bovill became Solicitor General. His duties included providing law-based information to both the Crown and the Cabinet.

In 1870, Bovill was given an honorary Doctor of Law, Oxford.

In 1873, he become a member of the judicature commission.

William Bovill was best known to the general public for his role in the Tichborne trial. When the trial was over, Bovill demanded the plaintiff be charged with perjury, which was the talk of the town.

Honors Bovill held include Knight Bachelor, and being chosen to join the Fellow of the Royal Society, a prestigious society that focuses on people who have made substantial contributions to improving the following categories – math, medical and engineering sciences, and natural knowledge.

OrignalAncestry has countless stories in its documents.  Own a piece of Sir William Bovill's history. 

OriginalAncestry Profiles August 07 2017

Sir William Maynard Gomm

by Janet Meydam

Some people are destined to rise from tragedy, living long, productive lives. Sir William Maynard Gomm was one of these people. Born in Barbados in 1784, he was eldest son of Lieutenant Colonial William Gomm of the 55th regiment of the British Army and Mary Alleyne, daughter of Joseph Alleyne of Barbados. Gomm’s father was killed during the storming of Pointe à Petre on the island of Guadeloupe, West Indies in 1794. His mother died two years later, leaving Gomm, his two brothers and his one sister orphaned. The children were raised by their aunt, Miss Jane Gomm. One of Gomm’s brothers also died before reaching adulthood.

Despite these tragedies, Gomm began his military career early in life. In recognition of his father’s service, Gomm was appointed ensign in the 9th regiment on 24 May and promoted to lieutenant on 16 November, all in the year 1794 before he turned age 10. He continued in school until 1799 when he began active service at age 15. Gomm proceeded to have a long, active period of military service in various campaigns and battles in several countries which, coupled with studies at High Wycombe, acquired him the rank of Assistant Quartermaster-General. His continued service in campaigns and battles led to a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. In 1815, Gomm served in Brussels in the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, aiding in the defeat of Napoleon.

More tragedy followed. Gomm’s brother Henry, also a soldier and one of his fighting companions, died from old battle wounds in 1816. His sister, with whom he corresponded by letter regularly, died in 1817 and his aunt also died in 1822. Gomm inherited his aunt’s property after her death and became the lord of the manor of Rotherhithe. Gomm spent the next 20 years serving in England. He married Sarah Penn, granddaughter of William Penn of Pennsylvania, but she died in 1827. In 1830 he married Elizabeth Kerr, daughter of Lord Robert Kerr. Gomm had no children by either marriage.

Gomm began serving overseas again in 1839. Between this year and 1855, he commanded posts in Jamaica and Mauritius and held several posts in India, including commander-in-chief of India. Gomm was a popular leader during this time, thanks largely to his wife’s social activities. He was promoted to full General in 1854 and retired to England in 1855. In 1868, he received the rank of Field Marshal. Gomm was also appointed Constable of the Tower of London in 1872. Gomm received numerous awards and medals during his lifetime. He died on 15 March 1875 at the age of 91.

Gomm was a regular letter writer and wrote especially stirring letters to his sister and aunt while he served with the military in Spain and Portugal. These letters were compiled into a book by Francis C. Carr-Gomm and were published in 1881.

OrignalAncestry has countless stories in its documents.  Own a piece of Sir William Maynard Gomm's history. 


OriginalAncestry Profiles August 01 2017

Leeds and Bradford Railway Company

by Laura Foor

The early 1800’s was a time when railways were just beginning to be built in the London area. Those who were involved in business quickly recognized the many benefits that this new transportation option could bring, and for that reason alone were looking for the best options when it came to deciding which cities would be included in the new railway lines. 

In 1832, a group of businessmen with ties to Bradford wanted the railway to link to Leeds and Manchester via Bradford and Halifax. They wanted to be part of the upcoming wool trade that was beginning to take place in Bradford, as wool is an important part of Bradford’s economy and people were showing an interest in buying this increasingly popular commodity. This placed an urgency on building a railway line between the cities of Leeds and Bradford, as it created a way to easily and affordably transport these goods to another location.

But these plans fell through, as not all businessmen agreed on which cities the railway lines should connect. Instead, a decision to connect Leeds to Manchester using a different route was deemed to be the better route choice.

Not to be undermined, the Bradford-based businessmen went on to create the Leeds and Bradford Railway Company. Even though it took them many years, as it was now 1843, they were more determined than ever to build a railway line that would finally connect Wellington Street, Leeds to the city of Bradford.

A mere one year later, the Leeds and Bradford Railway Co received permission to build the line, still against the wishes of rival railway companies. In order to appease the mass, a stipulation was added that required Leeds and Bradford to build a subsidiary line that would connect Bradford to Leeds to Stanningley, aka the West Yorkshire Railway. This finally led to the creation of the Bradford Connecting Lines, a goal that was many years in the making.

The official opening of the new Leeds to Bradford railway line took place on July 1st, 1846.

Although it took nearly 16 years to build a railway line that would connect the city of Bradford to other cities for trade purposes to come to fruition, it was well worth the wait. Today, the Leeds and Bradford Railway consists of 4 stations, all managed by the West Yorkshire Metro.

OrignalAncestry has countless stories in its documents.  Own a piece of Leeds and Bradford Railway Company history. 


Lost and Found July 28 2017

The goal of OriginalAncestry is to offer people a chance to own pieces of their family history as well as have access to information in private collections.  How cool would it be to own a letter written by your great-great-great-grandfather?  Or a legal document related to a direct branch on your mother's side of the tree?  We could offer hundreds of thousands of documents, but it would still be a drop in the genealogy bucket.  Therefore, if you cannot find it here, try some of these other great sites.

Justajoy.com - Joy Shivar created this site in 2011 with the intent of reuniting people with their family heirlooms.  The site has just been redesigned and looks great!  Her inventory includes over 100,000 surnames and has a number of dealers involved.

The Past on Paper - Similar to OriginalAncestry, Christian Mayne, has taken it upon himself to create a beautiful website aimed at making private collections available to genealogists and family historians.  The Past on Paper specializes in family bibles, postcards, photos, and documents.

Ancestorville - Run by the mayor of Ancesorville, Debra Clifford has done an excellent job in creating a community of family history researchers looking to find pieces of their history.  She has a growing collection of 10,000+ photos and documents. 

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers - Started 30 years ago, this company has managed to grow its inventory to over 2 million newspapers!  I have purchased from them on multiple occasions because of the uniqueness of the gift item.  It's one thing to look up newspapers on genealogy sites, it's another thing to own them.  They provide you with a detailed search capability that can help you find original newspapers related to your ancestors. 

Ancestor Homes - I had to come back and edit my blog article after stumbling on Ancestor Homes.  They are brand new and an excellent resource for property deed records.  They have a growing archive that can help people connect with their original documents.  With companies like this, more and more genealogy brick walls will be broken down because of access to private collections. 

So if you are unable to locate a document that ties to your family tree on OriginalAncestry, try out these other sites.  The people behind these sites have put a lot of hard work in making these products available. 


OriginalAncestry Profiles July 24 2017

Osbourne House - Lady Isabella Blachford

Lady Isabella Blachford

by Janet Meydam

Wealth and titles do not always mean lifelong security.  Historically, women were especially at the mercy of their fathers and husbands when it came to finances.  Poor investments, gambling, and mismanagement of estates sometimes led to financial ruin for prominent families.  Such was the case of Lady Isabella Blachford, former owner of Osbourne House on the Isle of Wright.

Lady Isabella Blachford was born Lady Isabella Fitzroy on 17 November 1786. She was the youngest daughter of Augustus Fitzroy, Third Duke of Grafton (and the 11th Prime Minister of England) and his second wife, Elizabeth Wrottesley. On 14 August 1812, she married Barrington Pope Blachford and moved to his estate, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wright. Blachford was a member of Parliament, member of the Admiralty Board, and a founding member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

While Barrington Pope Blachford was a prominent member of government and society, his love of gambling and other misconduct ruined his finances.  He died on 14 May 1816, leaving Lady Isabella with two young children and considerable debt.  She had some money of her own, but was not able to maintain Osbourne House indefinitely.  After her son, Fitzroy Pope Blachford, died in 1840, she was forced to put the estate up for sale.

The home and 1000-acre estate caught the eye of the young Queen Victoria.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were looking for a secluded retreat for their growing family and offered to purchase Osbourne House.  Lady Isabella asked £30,000 for the estate, but the agreed upon price ended up at £26,000 without furniture and fittings.  The furniture stayed with the house and it is possible that an exchange was made for accommodations because Lady Isabella and her unmarried daughter, Isabella Elizabeth Blachford, both lived in “Grace and Favor” apartments at Hampton Court until their deaths.  Lady Isabella Blachford died on 10 December 1866.

The house that Lady Isabella sold to Queen Victoria was not large enough for the queen’s family, so it was demolished to make room for the much larger mansion that exists today. The entrance portico to the original house was left standing, however, and now serves as the main gateway to the walled garden on the estate. Osbourne House was one of Queen Victoria’s favorite homes and she died there on 22 January 1901.

Osbourne House is currently maintained by English Heritage, a registered charity that preserves and maintains historic sites throughout the United Kingdom. The house is open to the public.

OrignalAncestry has countless stories in its documents.  Own a piece of Lady Isabella Blachford's history. 

Progress January 22 2017

We are excited to announce we have reached 30,000 documents indexed to the site which represents approximately 200,000 names!  The collection being archived will eventually be 70-80,000 pages - we have a long way to go but will chip away at it over time.

New resource for genealogy research! March 03 2016

OriginalAncestry is excited to offer original period documents to the public to provide another resource for discovering your family history!  I have been collecting pre-1900 documents for the past fifteen years in hopes of providing an additional resource for researchers of family history.  In many cases, the answer to a genealogical brick wall can be found in a document that an individual owns versus a government archive.  The  collection will be archived onto the site over time.  This is a small retail site, and archiving will take a great deal of time, so keep checking back to see if a document shows up with information on one of your ancestors!  Thank you for visiting!