The 1890-1909 Long Drought: 1893

A sentence in the article LAUNDRESSES & WASHERWOMEN: A SHORT HISTORY, by Adèle Emm in the March issue of Family Tree Magazine attracted my attention.

Water acquisition was particularly problematic during the UK’s Long Drought, 1890-1910, especially in London’s East End where water was often rationed to two hours a day.

How did that impact my two grandfathers and families living in London at the time?

The article An historical analysis of drought in England and Wales, Table 2, lists major droughts in England and Wales and comments on this Long Drought.

Major drought. Long duration (with some very wet interludes). Initiated by an extremely dry autumn and winter (driest Sept–April period on record). Exceptional cluster of relatively dry winters. Major and sustained groundwater impact, with significant water supply problems. Most severe phases: 1893, 1899, 1902, 1905.

The normalized relative frequency of the word drought in the British Newspaper Archive collection shows 1893 was a standout drought year. Newspaper mention reflects the social impact.

Treating the British Islands as a whole, the drought may be considered as embracing by much the greater part of the country for the fifteen weeks beginning with March 5.

The chart shows the relative frequency of the word drought in the British Newspaper Archive in 1893, consistent with contemporary rainfall reports.

The drought was most severely felt in the south of England, east London had 73 consecutive days without rain. The British Meteorological Office Monthly Weather Report stated March rainfall was less than a quarter of the average, less than one-tenth normal for Southern England in April, less than half average for May in Eastern and Southern England, as was the case for Central and Southern England in June.

The Registrar General’s report for 1893, as summarized in The Lancet, Vol 1, 1895, commented on an elevated death rate for children and young adults from diarrhea, diphtheria, smallpox and enteric diseases attributed to high temperature and deficient rainfall, especially in the south-eastern counties of England.

Obviously, my grandfathers survived! There may even have been an upside in the short term as farmers, unable to find grazing and fodder for livestock sent large numbers to market depressing prices.

Mentions of drought in newspaper articles for the first two months of 1893 were largely for places overseas, notably Australia. A summary of the year was that drought “extended over nearly the whole of Europe, large portions of Canada, the United States, and other parts of the globe.”

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine: March 2022

The feature articles in the March issue are

Search like a pro
Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams shares her expert advice on family history research.

You’ve probably heard most of these, and probably forgotten to apply some of them. A good refresher.

Surname switch
Hints from Paul Blake on how to trace ancestors who changed their names.

Chances are a name change was informal leaving no record, like a common-law wife using the partner’s surname. The article explores some of the less common means for changing a name.

Photo competition results
See the winners of our first-ever family photo competition.

The history of women’s football
Sara Tor on the women who pioneered on the pitch

Reader story
Hazel Garas on how she investigated a murder in her family tree

Also, not featured, just good information, in items on Divorce Records by Rebecca Probert, Scottish Migration by Chris Paton, and research in Suffolk by Jonathon Scott.

Family Tree Magazine: March 2022

Some of the feature articles from the March issue now on PressReader

RESEARCHING YOUR IRISH FAMILY HISTORY: David Ryan explores some of the most important collections to help you trace ancestors in the Emerald Isle.

LAUNDRESSES& WASHERWOMEN: A SHORT HISTORY: Just how did folk keep their clothes clean in times past? Adèle Emm rolls up her sleeves to find out.

There’s mention of a Long Drought, from 1890 to 1910, especially in London’s East End. Searching that led me to the article An historical analysis of drought in England and Wales.

SETTLERS IN CANADA: Dr. Simon Wills covers the key resources to help you trace British-origin kin in Canada.

Includes a mention of BIFHSGO Home Child resources.

1921 CENSUS: A USER’S GUIDE: Hints &tips to help you search this fascinating new record collection.

TAKE YOUR RESEARCH OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: David Annal invites you to investigate the less-well-known resources and enrich your research.

THE HOUSE OF WESSEX: Steve Roberts takes us on a light-hearted jaunt back to Saxon times.

RESEARCHING MY FATHER’S CHILDHOOD UNDER THE NAZIS: Helen Munsen reflects on findings and how she came to terms with some difficult truths.


FreeBMD February Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 11 February 2022 to contain 283,958,905 unique records, 283,535,186 at the previous update.

Years with changes of more than 10,000 records since the last update are: for births 1987, 1990-92; for marriages 1990-91; for deaths 1987-92.

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

Choose from free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Those in red are Canadian, bolded if local to Ottawa or recommended

Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed.

Tuesday 15 Feb. 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 15 Feb. 7 pm: So They Came – Young Men Farmers, by Elaine Becker for Oxford Branch OGS.

Tuesday 15 Feb, 7 pm: Developing the North: Hydroelectric Dams and the Hinterlands in Canada and India, 1953-1958, by Jill Campbell-Miller for the Ottawa Historical Association.

Tuesday 15 Feb.8 pm: It Goes with the Territory! Find Your Ancestors in Pre-statehood Records, by Alice Hoyt Veen for Legacy Family Tree Webinars and BCG.

Wednesday 16 Feb. 2 pm: The perfect back up plan for you: Backblaze, by Andy Klein for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Friday 18 Feb, 9 am: The Tudor Socialite, by Jan-Marie Knights for The (UK) National Archives.

Friday 18 Feb. 2 pm: Genealogical Gold in British Columbia, by Dave Obee for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Friday 18 Feb. 7 pm: Bound for Niagara: Examining Underground Railroad Genealogy, by Rochelle Bush for Niagara Branch OGS.

Saturday 19 Feb. 10 am: Sisters of Providence Motherhouse History and the Home Children records, by Veronika Stienberg for Kingston Branch OGS.

Saturday 19 Feb. 1 pm: GenPins and Research Boards: Using Pinterest for Genealogy, by Cheryl Levy for Quinte Branch OGS.


Ancestry updates collection Canada, Selected School Yearbooks, 1901-2010

Now with 2,372,275 records from “hundreds of new yearbooks”, updated from 2,318,578 records last May.

Where are those 53,703 records from? Ancestry isn’t saying.

Ontario now has 1,650,659 records, up from 1,648,511 last May.  British Columbia now has 201,341, Alberta 151,475, Saskatchewan 78,921, Manitoba 42,410, Quebec 221,006, New Brunswick 5,112, Prince Edward Island 0, Nova Scotia 21,354, Newfoundland and Labrador 0. 

Ottawa has 132,489 records, with no change for Ashbury College (1918-1988), Elmwood School (1923-1988) and Carleton University (1943-1980) the largest part.

Genealogical Resources for St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

If there was someone in your ancestry connected to a prestigious institution, like a royal chapel, you’d undoubtedly want to know and perhaps feature it in your family history. Although your chances may not be great, if you do have family links to royalty, the nobility or ordinary folks living in the vicinity those below are not-to-be-missed online records.

At BIFHSGO’s monthly meeting last Saturday Kristen Mercier presented 600+ years of stories from St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Until recently Kristen was Assistant Archivist for St George’s Chapel Archives & Chapter Library, and now Archivist for the Arnprior & McNab Braeside Archives.

The website has links under the Resources tab to Research Guides on The Order of the Garter, Military Knights, Naval Knights, The College of St George and The Properties of St George. There is almost a century of annual reports, and, of great interest, 16 out of print pdf versions out of 19 Historical Monographs, Volumes of particular interest-

Volume. 10. The Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers of St George’s Chapel, Windsor is of obvious genealogical interest. Much of that data has been incorporated into the databases of the major genealogical websites.

Volume. 16. The Order of the Garter: It’s Knights and Stall Plates, 1348-1984 is another name-rich source. It’s a diversion to scan the often rightfully obscure royalty and nobility, foreign and domestic, and occasional worthy Prime Minister included. Also, those who had their banner removed like the German Kaiser of the First World War.

Both volumes are well indexed in the original, so the pdfs not being word-searchable is a minor irritant.


Military Monday: TheGenealogist adds further RAF Operations Record Book transcripts

Over 4.2 million new transcripts are now available in TheGenealogist’s ORB collection. With over 11 million records online, this is the largest collection of searchable AIR 27 records. The originals are at the UK National Archives.

ORBs are made up of Form 540 – Summary of Events (the majority), and Form 541 – Detail of Work Carried Out to provide an accurate record of the functioning of the Royal Air Force and some Dominion and Allied squadrons under the command of the British. Appendices that go along with these documents give many statistical details as well as “Secret Orders.”

Events records are arranged by squadron number and date and time of sortie or flight.

The UK National Archives has its own access to some of these records at Ancestry also has an ORB collection with 751,751 records. Is the way records are counted is the same at the various sources?

Information from TheGenealogist
“We are very close to having indexed all of the records, but already have all the images online to browse. I know that some magazines state that Ancestry has completed the release but this appears to be for browseable images only (we also have the complete browseable images). TheGenealogist is by far the largest collection of searchable AIR27 records online with over 11 million versus Ancestry’s at just over 750,000 (according to their Card Catalogue).”

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

New Feature Warns Users When They Might Want To Stop Sticking Noses Where They Don’t Belong From The Onion.

Name a country from its map outline guessing game.

South Australia Records
South Australia, Australia, Incoming and Outgoing Passenger Lists, 1845-1940 with 581,599 records and  South Australia, Australia, Adelaide Hospital Admission Registers, 1841-1946 with 487,164 records, are the largest of six South Australia collections newly added to Ancestry

10 ways to find out what your house was like generations ago

Tracing Your Family History with the Whole Family
New from Pen and Sword

Supportive Home Automation to Help Seniors Age in Place

Accuracy of groundhog weather prediction
Better than the Farmers Almanac!

Thanks to this week’s contributors. Ann Burns, Anonymous, Barbara, Chris Madsen, Colleen Murray, Judy Humphries, Lori Scott, Lucy, rob bennie, Sheila, Teresa, Unknown.

Findmypast Weekly Update: Norfolk

Norfolk Workhouse Admission & Discharge Registers for Aylsham (1836 – 1904), Forehoe (1870 – 1913), Loddon & Clavering (1814 – 1900) and Norwich (1802 – 1901) Poor Law Unions are now available. Covering the workhouses of Aylsham, Buxton, Heckingham, Oulton, St Andrew’s, and Wicklewood, these 279,125 records include transcripts and linked images of the original record.

Norfolk had 22 Poor Law Unions. Records at the Norfolk Record Office listed here suggest there’s scope for more coverage.

Norfolk Non-Conformist Records 1613-1901 added separately to three FMP collections — England and Wales Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms, England and Wales Non-Conformist Burials, and England and Wales Non-Conformist Marriages.

For births and baptisms, there are  42,772 records from 1691 to 1919, the majority including transcripts and images. Marriages from 1658 to 1896 in the Norfolk collection total 4,296 records. The 7,334 burial records are from 1666 to 1959, most lacking images.

Norfolk Newspapers: Lynn Advertiser
Editions for 1944, 1952-1957, 1998 have been added in the past week to the Lynn Advertiser bringing the overall coverage of the paper to 1842-1945, 1950-1957, 1963, 1967, 1971-1977, 1980-1999.