WSO and Mickelthwate at the Carnegie Hall

I’m delighted to pass on the news that the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under their musical director Alexander Mickelthwate have been invited to perform at the Carnegie Hall in New York City on Thursday May 8th 2014. Here’s a link. If you’re able to go, please let me know how good the show was.

Website Relocation

My webhost ( has announced that it is closing. I am having to relocate my website. My new website is: – the public bit is important!!

If you want a shorter link, try


I hope, when all the website, computer, health and tooth problems subside, to return to do some family history research!

Computer Problems

Since July my main computer, a Toshiba laptop running Windows XP, has become more and more unreliable. It now doesn’t want to charge the battery when the computer is running, and is difficult to persuade to do so when the computer is off. Fortunately, I have backups.

So the time came to buy a new laptop – the problem is what to buy. I looked at Apple but was unwilling to pay 3 or 4 times what I’d have to pay for a Windows machine. Linux machines are not competitively priced either. Microsoft seems to have a monopoly. Windows 8 doesn’t have a good reputation amongst my contacts, so reluctantly I went with it and bought another Toshiba. I am unimpressed.

The new Toshiba keyboard seems flimsy and the spacings and key positions have changed again. I am getting numerous spelling errors and key omissions – thank goodness for spell checkers! The touchpad does not behave as I would like – I haven’t yet worked out whether this is my settings, the hardware or the operating system.

In my opinion, Windows 8 deserves its poor reputation. The start screen is suited to a mobile phone, not serious computing, It took several days before I had a working system after the lengthy installation process, Windows Updates wouldn’t. One Control Panel screen told me I had automatic updates set, the next said I didn’t. When eventually it did update, it was 669MB, about 1/16th of my monthly allowance. My brother-in-law bought a Sony a few months ago. On that, the OS was pre-installed and the computer was ready-to-run out of the box – why can’t Toshiba do that?

Finally, there’s the issue of all my Windows XP programmes that no longer work on Windows 8. I have found a solution. VirtualBox from Oracle allows you to run a guest operating system under a different host environment. So I have XP running in a virtual machine within Windows 8. So I can still run my old XP programmes. Eventually, I would like to migrate them to Windows 8. That’s a long term aim for when I’m fully back to a working system, which may take many weeks yet as I have to re-install all my old XP stuff. I did try Disk2vhd, but I don’t have the skills or energy to get it to work. VirtualBox also runs on Linux and Apple hosts, so that might be an option if you don’t follow my route.

So at some stage I hope to return to family history research. Watch this space.


Update (18th Oct) – I read today that the update for Windows 8.1 will be a non-trivial 3+ GB (yes, GB not MB). That’s 1/3 my monthly allowance. I get less and less impressed by the day.

Micklethwaites Reunited

Our Meeting of Micklethwaites on Saturday was quite an event. We had 16 pre-arranged attendees for lunch plus 4 who came just for a drink. These included some 3rd cousins who hadn’t met before.


On top of that, I had sent a press release to several local newspapers and to Radio Sheffield. The Barnsley Chronicle published an article, and Radio Sheffield rang me for a live interview. As a result, we had another 16 people turn up, all of whom were able to give me new information.  Amongst them were some 2nd cousins to someone in the lunch party who we were able to reunite.


On top of that (!), we reunited 2 (as yet unrelated) Susan Micklethwaites who had been in the same class as school.


Everyone wants to know when the next one is – probably late next September – I’ll keep you posted!

Web Site Unavailable

My web site at is currently not available. They are working on the issue and hope to resolve it soon. Sadly it’s still not up this morning after at least 24 hours. What do I expect for a free site!

I will have to investigate alternatives if the issues are not resolved quickly as I could do with the site being available for the Meeting on Saturday.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

[Edit: Original post 26/9/13. Normal service has now been resumed 30/9/13]


A Meeting of Micklethwaites

We will be meeting at Dodworth Valley Toby Carvery, Barnsley, just off the M1 at Junction 37 on September 28th 2013. Please contact me if you wish to join us for lunch or just turn up for a beer or a coffee. So far we have 13 booked for lunch – very encouraging!

South African Marriage

FamilySearch recently added marriages from Natal to their datasets. When I learn of new postings, I tend to do a quick search, just in case something turns up. And did something turn up?


According to the transcripts, Stafford Northcote Micklethwaite (who is originally from Skelmanthorpe in Yorkshire according to my information) married Norah Honey Bardner on 5th June 1907, in Ladysmith.


Could these folks be the parents of young Mary Evelyn whose grave I mentioned in a recent post? I think it highly likely.


Stafford emigrated again, from South Africa to Australia, where he had 2 sons, and where descendants still live.

The Bay Horse Inn

We recently visited the National Railway Museum in York for The Great Gathering of the 6 remaining A4 “Pacific” class steam locomotives – a family history blog is not the place to say how wonderful the event was, but I’m going to! If you have an interest, they are gathering again in October in York, and finally in February 2014 in Shildon. On the way back from York, we took the scenic route to Great Heck.


It was from here in 1831 that Willoughby Micklethwaite and his family left for America, founding the Mickelwait and Micklethwait branches in that country. Willoughby had been landlord there for 9 years. The Inn was built in 1791 we were told.


Nowadays, the food they serve is very good, although the menu choice is a little limited. They also have locally brewed beers, including “Blonde Bombshell” – the only one I’m likely to get hands on these days!


If you’re related, pay them a visit if you can. We were made very welcome.

It’s Worth Revisiting Old Problems

I mentioned recently that I’d been looking at my data in order to update my relatives and ancestors on the excellent LostCousins site. To do this I created a spreadsheet with a summary of all my relatives. I could then look at the summary to see what was missing, initially with a view to updating the LostCousins info.


After doing that, I had another look and saw that I was missing a marriage for 2 of my great great grandparents, James Clapham and Ellen Blackburn, who lived near Bradford. I wondered whether I could find it using the experience of the past 10 years. Having been searching for Micklethwaites recently, where spelling isn’t always what you expect, I thought it worth a try looking for different spellings, and I turned up a marriage on FreeBMD in Bradford for Ellen Blackburn and James Clayton. This looked possible. I then checked Ancestry and discovered that the parents’ names were both in agreement with the data in my records. So now I’m fairly sure this is the right marriage, but I’ll have to wait until I can get the image off Ancestry, either by visiting the library or begging off a friend. Can I wait till I go to the library?!


The morals of this story: keep trying; apply your experience to old problems; don’t rely on folks getting the spelling correct.

Eveline Mary Micklethwaite of Ladysmith, South Africa

I have found a photograph on the eGGSA site of the grave of Eveline Mary Micklethwaite who died when aged but 14 months. Sadly there is no further information about her, in particular when she died. I have contacted researchers in both the South African branches and both have no knowledge of her – and indeed have no knowledge of any connection with Ladysmith. The grave is decorated in Art Deco style, so may date to the 1920s or 1930s, but this is conjecture. I would be grateful if anyone can help with more information on this infant.


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