#52 Ancestors: Week 1: Foundations

Foundations of my Cutting Line

This is a great topic to begin my series of stories of my ancestors this year. Many other genealogists are writing about ‘foundations’ in their blogs. I will link to a couple of my favourites at the bottom of this post.

As a Genealogist I am well aware of the need to build the foundations of our family tree on solid ground. I have two strong foundations in my ancestry: the Allery Tribe and the Cutting Line; paternal heritage and maternal heritage.

All of my training and experience in family history research has taught me how to locate, interpret and store the records for individuals; the Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death and Burial records. These are the foundations for building information about an individual ancestor.

This week I am delving into these and other foundation records to build a broader picture of the lives of my parents!

Census Records: foundations of family research

This week the 1921 England and Wales Census records were launched by FindMyPast and I was happy to go back to the foundations of my family tree and find out more about my parents in that year. My first search was for my mother, Winifred Edith, using her maiden name of Cutting, as I knew she was still single in 1921. The 1921 census gave me a few more pieces of information about her life; her occupation and where she worked. See below.

1921 Census – Winifred Edith Cutting

Winifred was just 18 years old in 1921, employed as a Clark (Cashier) for H.A. White Hosiers in Thames Street, Kingston. Kingston upon Thames, also spelled Kingston-upon-Thames, royal borough and outer borough of London, England, about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of central London, is on the south bank of the River Thames and is part of the historic county of Surrey.

This was of interest to me as I had always assumed that Winnie worked for her father, Charles Harry Newland Cutting, at his Ironmongery Dealer and General Builder premises at 13 Park Road, Kingston. This shop location has a current market value of £794,000, and appears to be a Fish and Chip Shop, called the Park Road Chippy. It is a three story property, and I am imagining what it was like for a large family to be living there in the 1920s.

The 1921 census showed that Winnie was at home with her parents Charles and Mary Jane, her siblings – Ronald and Violet Annie (two of the remaining triplets born in 1907); and Doris Elsie born in 1911. Also at 13 Park Road, on the night of this census, was Andrew Ralph Cutting, brother of Charles. I have written a story about my Great Uncle Andy here. Now I have a little more information about Andrew’s occupation as an Insurance Surveyor, employed by the Law Union and Rock Insurance Company, at 7 Chancery Lane, London WC.

Continuing my search in the 1921 Census, I looked for my father, Cecil Henry Allery. I had assumed, at first, that he was to be found in England in that year and probably living at home with his mother Harriet Priscilla, at 53 Chatham Road, Kingston-on-Thames. However, I could not find him with any of the spellings of his name. Curious, I posed the question for myself; ‘was he living in England or in another part of Britain’ and why? I knew that my father was in the Royal Air Force and had enlisted as a Boy Artificer, in 1918; so I wondered if he was billetted somewhere with his unit. I needed to find his service records.

Service Records: foundations of military evidence

I looked up his military record and located some very useful information in that document.

Service Number 82153 – Cecil Henry Allery

The Forces War Records confimed that Cecil was transferred to Leuchars in 1919. A quick Google search and I realised that this was the Leuchars RAF base in Fife, Scotland. (Leuchars is now known as one of the longest continuously operating military airfields in the world.) Therefore Cecil would have been in Scotland in 1921; as, according to the record above, he was not transferred to Gosport, in Hampshire, until 1922.

The above record is another ‘foundation’ for me to discover the story of my father’s time in the RAF during the interwar years. It was at Leuchars that Cecil Henry Allery was awarded the first Good Conduct badge; awarded on his birthday 25 April. He was enlisted as a Boy in 1917, tranferred as a RAF Boy in April 1918, reclassified as a Carpenter Learn in August 1918 and then to Carpenter later in 1918, then as Rigger Aero in February1919 then AC2 Rigger Aero in August 1919. This detail will be of interest to my brother who now holds our father’s RAF uniform and cap.

There are some interesting facts revealed in this record such as his physical description: height 5 ft 5 inches, brown hair, hazel eyes, a fresh complexion and a large mole on his right calf. His discharge from the RAF was dated 1926 and the address noted at that time was that of his family home at 53 Chatham Road, Kingston. And yet this address is noted on the right hand side of the record: 25 Coombe Road, Norbiton, Kingston-on-Thames. Now I need to work out the significance of that address.

The foundation of my family tree, my parents, now needs some attention to detail and support structure as I discover more of their lives.

Here are a few other blog posts from fellow geneabloggers on the topic of Foundations:

Writing my Past – author / geneablogger from Canada.

Finding My Ancestors – author / geneablogger from Canada.

The Weekend Historian – author/geneablogger from America.

Family History – first time author/geneablogger from Tasmania, Australia.

Family Connections and Other Musings – first time author/geneablogger from Kansas, USA

Additional information about this week’s prompt: Some ways you might interpret this include focusing on the person who sparked your interest in family history, a builder in your family tree, or the person who is the bedrock of your family.

If you want to participate in the 2022 #52Ancestors52Weeks project, head on over to Amy Johnson Crow’s Facebook group: Generations Cafe.

I would love to hear from you about your family history research and connect with you on your blog. Please leave a comment below and a link to your blog.

Your thoughts are welcomed here!

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