Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Live blogging from the Heritage Open Days event at Cotesbach Hall.
Posted on: September 10th, 2011 by pj

This is the 18th century schoolroom


Music In the Yard 2011 – Cotesbach, Leicestershire
Posted on: July 15th, 2011 by pj

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The one with the book…
Posted on: July 4th, 2011 by pj

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!!

Here’s the blurb:

“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…)

Happy New Year!
Posted on: April 26th, 2011 by pj

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  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.

Sentimental Sunday – missing images 1
Posted on: September 19th, 2010 by pj

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.

Disney, Vesty, Taylor and Watson

Feuds and creating fantasy families with genealogy
Posted on: August 13th, 2010 by pj
What made you embark on a genealogical journey.  Was it a love of history?  Maybe the hope of finding a famous ancestor? Is it because you need to know ‘who you think you are?’  Do you view it as a ‘collecting’ hobby like stamps, gathering all that data to safely store away for future generations, or are there more complex reasons?
For me it certainly wasn’t a love of history, not initially anyway.  Over the years, as I’ve learnt about the lives of my forebears, I’ve gained an appreciation of social history if only to put their stories into some kind of context, but it wasn’t my primary interest.  Nor am I collector of dates or famous people.  I realised early on that if we go back far enough most of us will be able to find someone ‘of note’ that we are related to, just by virtue of simple maths.  As our ancestors double with every generation so, for example, going back only sixteen generations we each have 65,535 ancestors so the chances of someone amongst them being famous or royal are pretty good.
Not a brick wall…a toll gate!
Posted on: July 31st, 2010 by pj
Taking a break from writing I almost absentmindedly started researching another line of my family.  I’d been reading about the genealogical value of mtDNA testing and the ‘daughters of Eve’.  Personally, although its fascinating, I’m not ready to investigate that in relation to my own genealogical research, just yet.  However, it did make me think about my mother’s line and how tracing back, mother to mother was something that hadn’t occurred to me.  Until now.
I know a lot about my maternal grandmother and I have some information about my great and even great, great grandmother.  Yesterday I found my ggg grandmother on the 1861 census.  She was living in a small village in Warwickshire her address being the ‘Toll Gate’;  occupation ‘Toll Collector’.  (more…)
The first line of a book is important.
Posted on: July 13th, 2010 by pj
Those few words are what all the 'how to write a bestseller' authors will tell you are the ones that suck the reader in, grab their attention and set the tone and style for the remaining 50,000 or so words.

I had a great opening line for this book.

"My grandfather was born in a register office"

It seemed just about perfect for the beginning of a book about family history.  What a pity it's not true.  The line that got away.  I feel like a fisherman, "No honest, it was THIS good".


No genealogist should be without one..or Monday madness
Posted on: June 28th, 2010 by pj
It’s character building to have a thespian in your ancestry.  Trust me.  My acting ancestors have made me laugh, cry and tear my hair out in frustration and it has nothing to do with their professional abilities!  As part of the Monday madness meme over at Geneabloggers let me share my adventures tracking down my favourite board-treader who’s driven me nuts over the years.Several factors contribute to the difficulties in searching for Victorian actors.  Using a stage name is the most obvious. Professional name and ‘real’ surname for some appear to have been interchangeable on official documents seemingly at whim.  Then there is mobility.  Theatre actors didn’t often stay in the same venue for more than a few weeks at a time which, if they had a fairly common name, makes looking for them on a census a long winded process.  If you do manage to track them down they’re often listed at the end of the household as ‘Vistor’ or ‘Boarder’ on their own and the link broken to the rest of their family.  As if that wasn’t bad enough there are the age discrepancies.  Of course that can be a problem with any ancestor, transcription errors and mistakes occur regularly but with actors we have the added complication of a desire to appear a different age to their actual age.  Usually younger. (more…)
A personal question for genealogists….
Posted on: June 19th, 2010 by pj
Are you boring?  Okay that was rude, of course you’re not!  Let me rephrase that.  Do members of your family suddenly find something urgent they have to do right now as you begin to tell them about your latest census find?  Do their eyes glaze over when you show them a photo of their great great grandmother’s grave?  Do you ever find yourself getting frustrated that part of your interest in genealogy stems from a desire to pass on your research to younger members of your family and NOBODY is interested?One solution is to write a book and let those frustrations just wash away.   I know it seems like a mammoth task but think about it.  You already have a lot of the basic information, the stories and the photos.  Imagine you’re writing it for a descendant yet to be born who develops a passion for genealogy.  It doesn’t have to be the best written book in the world either.  (more…)