Restoring this photo was a labour of love, the only photo I have of my Nan as a child, Hilda Margaret Rainbow (nee Wilkins) taken around 1914. She was dressed as a snowflake for some kind of Christmas pageant.
Edwin Rainbow, my great, great grandfather, was a newspaper employee who definitely didn’t hack into mobile phones! Born 1851 in Coventry, England he served an apprenticeship as a printer before becoming a journalist, employed by several Coventry newspapers.
I discovered that during the first decade of the twentieth century he developed a passion for Bohemia (nowadays part of the Czech Republic). In between journalism and his duties as Registrar of Births and Deaths in Coventry he made frequent visits to Prague, financing his trips by writing travel and political articles for both local and national newspapers, including, I believe, The Manchester Guardian. His obituary relates that he was awarded a medal and Freedom of the City of Prague for his journalistic services, apparently helping to improve the image of Bohemia when it was receiving bad press at the time, particularly from Germany.
I have been aware that he had written several books, a tour guide of Coventry and both the official souvenir guides of Queen Victoria’s Silver and Golden Jubilees. Recently I discovered that in 1906 he co-authored a book with Jindérich Malây, about the life of Vojta Náprstek – Vojta Náprstek: A Memoir. Náprstek was a philanthropist, patriot and politician, as well as a pioneering Czech language journalist in the United States.
I have very little additional information about Edwin’s time in Prague except that he became friends with a man called Mr Musek who visited him in Coventry on several occasions. I would love to find more out about his trips and articles and have a feeling this will be my next ‘dog with a bone’ foray.
I finally went and did it and published my book!! All the research from the last *cough* years, all down on paper…in a book! Of course, since its been written I’ve found out more information but that will have to wait for volume 2!
If you’d like to buy it first of all, thank you!! Second, click the picture below for the various options. Thirdly, thank you!!
“Chasing Rainbows is a layered portrait of an English family spanning a time period from the early eighteenth to the late twentieth century. The author begins with her six time great grandfather William Rainbow, born around 1710 in the village of Cotesbach, Leicestershire and traces his descendants to the present day. This genealogical journey takes in the world of the Victorian actor, the Edwardian journalist, the Passive Resister and the gory details of a shocking crime. We travel from farming in rural Leicestershire via silk weaving in Coventry to the USA and Australia.
This account of an ‘ordinary’ family peopled with extraordinary characters is based on primary research collected by the author during the last 25 years with the individual stories set solidly in historical context. Written originally to organise and preserve her research Paula Jeffery’s genealogy stories took on a life of their own and her interest in history and detective work combined to produce a compelling account of family life during the past 300 years.
The journey was peppered with mysteries. What was the motivation for a young man to run a razor across the neck of his girlfriend while she slept? Why did a mother and daughter both die suddenly at the age of twenty-one? (more…)
My new year’s resolutions were to lose weight and blog more often. The good news is that I’ve lost 30lbs and well….one out of two isn’t bad, is it? However, I haven’t been idle on the genealogy front. I’ve nearly finished my book. After writing all last summer and autumn and editing during the winter, I’ve now arrived at teaching myself Adobe Indesign so I can format the pdf and send it off to lulu.com. This week I’m indexing. If you’ve never done that, trust me, it’s horrible! But I see light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t believe I’ve actually almost finished it.
Reading genealogy blogs and twitter it appears that most of us hate to see old photos that have been abandoned at a flea markets or second hand shop. There is a feeling of sadness at the sight of a box full of memories, discarded, maybe after a bereavement. As we work through our own research we may only be lucky enough to find a few precious images of our own ancestors and can only imagine the joy of being presented with a whole box of missing images. I think that was my motivation when, a couple of years ago I found a big box of old photos in a second hand shop and rather than let them languish I bought them. There are a few clues as to where they may belong, the names Disney, Vesty, Taylor and Watson are mentioned with connections to Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK. The photos themselves are lovely; pretty girls, grand old gentlemen, family portraits, farming photos and more. Today’s is the first in a series I’ll post in the hope of reuniting them with their family.
Research and writing have been put aside during the last two weeks when present day family matters demanded attention. However, today I’ve become re-energised after a trip to a small village on the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border. Cotesbach is famous as the site of the Enclosure Riots; it is home to a Manor, Cotesbach Hall, an 18th century schoolhouse and today, during a Heritage Open Day it witnessed a slightly over excited family historian. That would be me then….
I’ve planned on visiting Cotesbach for several years and for no particular reason have never got round to it until today. It’s not as if its a long complicated trip, just a few miles down the road from home, yet it wasn’t until I noticed that the village was involved in a Heritage Open Day that I was spurred to grab my camera, a printout of my earliest Rainbows, my long suffering husband and head off down the slightly soggy, autumnal lanes of rural Leicestershire. The schoolroom at the Cotesbach Educational Trust was built in the late 18th century and there’s a good chance that several of my ancestors stared out of that window wishing lessons were over for the day.