Posted in family, Travel

Tiny Research Steps

The steps today seemed tiny and, on occasion, even a bit futile. Which seems like a strange thing to say about a day touring around in a foreign country.

Our visit to the Liverpool area was twofold. We wanted to visit our friends who live there and do some research into my great uncle’s life, death and perhaps final resting place. The computer “paper” trail of my great uncle’s life has gone a bit cold. I was lucky that my Canadian cousin did a lot of base research. Born 1886 in a poorhouse in Ormskirk, that’s also where we believe he died. A brief stint in Canada from 1911 to 1925 but as he was an “undesirable” due to some sort of mental illness that rendered him unemployable, he was deported from Canada shortly after his mother’s death.

So armed with a great local driver we set off for Ormskirk. The history section and a librarian were a good start.

So then info turned up that the Ormskirk work house was closed in the 30’s when it became the Ormskirk County Hospital.

Which was then closed in 1948 and the patients were farmed out. So we’ve managed a couple of descent suppositions about where he went in the as either Greaves Hall Hospital or Sefton House Hospital.

The National Registry office at Ormskirk sent us to Preston. Preston to Liverpool. Liverpool had already replied to my email in the negative. Ah fun and games. Perhaps I wasn’t asking for the right info from the right place?

Our heads full, my research assistants and I went to the beach to check out a cool art display there.

Then this evening, as we told info to our lovely friend, she picks up her tablet and starts finding connections. More info to tract down and possible places to look for more info. Plus an offer to check out records if my future email inquires turn up more leads. It really helps us that she grew up here and totally understands the changes to boundaries etc.

One tiny step closer to perhaps finding out an answer or two. First up though sleep!


Ps never managed to hit post last night as it was a long day, late evening and then an early morning today.

Posted in Travel

Lost in stride

It’s well known that my sense of direction is a

bit suspect at times. Today, apparently, it didn’t even exist. I’ve been turned around all day and thankful for my man and his great directional prowess. Fortunately we were walking around Edinburgh and not driving around Scotland!We had a lovely breakfast out with family at Queensferry. This is home to 3 bridges that fascinates engineers for sure. I remember clearly on our first trip to Scotland a couple of decades ago we had to find somewhere to pull over so we could get a picture of it. It’s chock full of history and quite an engineering feat. They worked 24/7 for 7 years and 59 lives were lost during the creation of it.

Then we hopped aboard a Scot Train bound for Edinburgh. No hastles of parking and it was a nice change for Ron from driving. Public transit is always interesting people watching.

People were the one commodity we never ran out of today. Sunday on the Golden Mile probably had more people than we’ve seen in the rest of Scotland!! Seriously.

We meandered around and were interested in a variety of things; history, architecture and Harry Potter/J. K. Rowling spots. We saw tons of all those items. Our afternoon beer was at the Tollbooth Tavern, historically home to the worst prison in Scottish history. Such a cool building.

We saw an unusual number of unicorns – bet you didn’t see that coming! Although now the picture of the 3rd and funniest one is gone.

A mystery but I must move on to catch up. Unicorns are a royal symbol so while they seem like a new hot ticket kid item they’ve always had a special place in the symbols of royal families.

We visited the entrance to two royal castles set in the Golden Mile; Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Castle. The later was closed to the public and the former had an excessive number of tourists so neither of them got more than a few photos.

We didn’t manage the Harry Potter walking tour but did it more the Sherlock Holmes way; a bit of sleuthing here and there. Tom Riddle’s grave was easy as the grass is indeed trampled. Victoria Street was a dead ringer for Diagon Alley. A few others were more vague and others not worth tracking down. The cafe where she wrote the first one and the hotel room where she finished the seventh weren’t on our agenda.

It’s important to recognize the line between fact and fiction and I didn’t want our entire time to be eaten up by that.

So we wandered over and around; checking out old buildings and new ones. They have a significant amount of construction within the downtown core. There are all these little tiny lanes off the Golden Mile and they lead into more buildings.

It’s much easier to see from up top. Using his engineering brain Ron was able to figure out that one entire block in behind.

Totally hidden behind a slightly new looking bigger entrance through two buildings. It’s such a hilly city and has so many crossing weirdly angled streets I was quite happy by this point to let him navigate.

We managed the correct platform (and no the ticket lady didn’t look amused when I said I was sure we didn’t want 9 3/4) and the train rattled us back to where we started. I tried to walk the wrong way to get out, giving those boots one last work out!

Thankfully once back on the road my navigatioal skills did return to get us back to my young English cousin’s house.

We then spent a couple more hours discussing ancestors and English history. Hence the no blog post as I was only a quarter done on the train using the free wifi. It’s always a scramble to catch back up but I’m hopeful.