I love all the new family history opportunities I have now we live in South Yorkshire! I find it so much easier to do my research when I am familiar with the area. Sometimes researching new places can be tricky, especially in England, to even pronounce some of the village names. When we first discovered Thurgoland, I said Thurgo-land. Then my sister corrected me, apparently it’s not pronounced like Legoland but it’s one continuous word. Thurgoland.

We have only lived here for 4 months now, so I won’t pretend to have all the local knowledge. Although we have spent enough time over the summer exploring the village that I am familiar with the territory and I am able to make some educated guesses about where my ancestors would have lived (based on evidence of course).

Family walk in summer through Thurgoland field

Locating my Ancestors

I used my Family Search App to “Map my ancestors” and found, amazingly, that there were 26 ancestors living here in this small village in South Yorkshire. Thurgoland was home to my 3rd great grandmother (Jane Beet), and my 4th great grandparents (John Beet and Mary Earnshaw) nearly 200 years ago. I don’t know if you can imagine the excitement for this family history nerd to discover direct line ancestors living right here. In the small village we picked at random to be our home.

Last Saturday morning we took a stroll to the local church to find the headstone for where my 4th great grandparents were buried in the corner of the church yard, covered in ivy, under a tree.

I have used the census information to find that the family lived near the river, and John worked in the wire mill as a Wire Drawer. The houses and mill aren’t there anymore, but we have walked down by the river and been to Wortley Top Forge which would have been near to the wire mill. I have started taking walks down that end of the village with Sam recently when the weather allows it. It is October and already most days it is raining.

Sam at Thurgoland tunnel

When I move somewhere new, I always feel like an outsider. In fact, Yorkshire folk are so proud of their heritage I almost felt like an imposter! Now at least I feel a little more like I belong here. I am just returning home.

Clare xx

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