Dear Reader

Dear Reader #73

Dear Reader,

In 1925 Hugo Gernsback, an inventor, writer and magazine publisher designed a helmet that would shut out all external sounds so he could concentrate on his writing. He called it ‘The Isolator’. This is how I write 😂

During the Spanish Civil War, Albacete was a loyalist stronghold. However, in July 1936 Franco‘s fascists staged a coup there only for the loyalists, pictured, to defeat them nine days later. Albacete is a location featured in Branches, book two in my Spanish Civil War Saga, The Olive Tree.

And he‘d bought a new mask and swag bag too…

Noreen Riols talks with candour and humour about training SOE agents, seduction and wartime love.

Our liquid amber tree in all its autumnal glory.

25.10.1944, Boxtel, the Netherlands. Defending a family from the Nazis.

Highlights of being a writer…developing the spark of an idea into a story, receiving kind words from readers who enjoy my books, working with talented translators and narrators. A translator recently: “I’m excited to work with you.” You couldn’t ask for a greater compliment.

Books save lives. These images are from an exhibition held in Madrid in 2012. They show ‘wounded’ books used as barricades by Loyalists and International Brigade volunteers at the Facility of Philosophy and Letters during the 1936 siege of Madrid.

I’ve taken my family tree back to 1663 with the discovery of my 8 x great grandfather, John Howe, born in St Hilary, Glamorgan. Pictured, (Wikipedia) the 14th century parish church at St Hilary where John was baptised. I’m now searching for his wife and children.

I’m researching the family of my 8 x great-grandfather, John Howe, born in 1663. I’ve discovered that he had at least four children. The gap between Joseph and Rebecka strongly suggests that he had at least four more, but they are lost to the historical record.

No further details are available for Rebecka and John junior, but Priscilla married Thomas Deer and they had at least one daughter, Ann, born 23 July 1738 in St Hilary, Glamorgan.

John’s fourth child, Joseph, is my direct ancestor and my next task is to learn more about him.

Priscilla was a very popular name in my family and it featured in every generation well into the twentieth century. The choice of Joseph and Rebecka suggests that their father, John, was a devoted Christian and a regular attender at the parish church of St Hilary.

There is no mention of John’s marriage or his wife – women were often overlooked in the historical record – and in the seventeen century the trade or craft of a person was not often recorded, unless they were landowners or skilled artisans. St Hilary was an agricultural community at the time so it seems highly likely that John and his family worked on the land.

My 7 x great-grandfather, Joseph Howe, was born in 1693 in St Hilary, Glamorgan. He married Elizabeth, c1711, and they produced four children, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Mary and John. The gaps in the historical record suggest that the couple had at least four more children; they brought up a large family, which was common until the second half of the twentieth century.

Little is known of daughter Elizabeth and Mary while, sadly, Dorothy died within days of her birth, another common occurrence for the time. John is my direct ancestor, and more about him next time.

In the late seventeenth century into the early eighteenth century the population of St Hilary stood at around 150 with Welsh the dominant language. Formal education was rare in those days, but from 1675 a charitable trust, the Welsh Trust, ran a small school in the village with ten pupils attending in 1678. Religion was central to this form of education and lessons were conducted by vicars and churchwardens.

St Hilary was an agricultural community so Joseph probably worked on the land. He died on 5 July 1742. Elizabeth survived him by nearly nineteen years and died on 1 May 1761.

At this stage, the Howe family had been in St Hilary for a hundred years, and more. And they would remain there for another generation, thanks to my 6 x great-grandfather, John.

Yesterday, I discovered that one of my ancestors owned a property valued today at well over £1 million. More details after more research. Meanwhile, the question is, where’s my share of the family fortune?!

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

3 replies on “Dear Reader #73”

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