Monday, 8 April 2013

A-Z 2013 'G' is for Graves and Gunmakers

Pottering around old churchyards 'digging up' old relatives does not actually imply any sort of spade-work - but yes, I have tramped around a few burial grounds to find the final resting places of some of my folks. Sometimes there's a headstone with a few new 'facts' to be unearthed - sometimes there is just a plot number.

Of course, some of my family have quite elaborate headstones but then, they were stonemasons so that's sort of a 'given'!

Here's my mother's cousin, supervising the placement of my Grandfather's headstone (the one at the start of this post) in 1937.

It was rose granite specially shipped in for the purpose and other family stones were later cut from the same piece.

The oldest and still readable (just!) family stone is in Canonbie Churchyard, just over the Scottish Borders. 'New' cousins I met while discovering the family tree took me to see our 4xGreat Grandparents' stone.

Many generations of the family are buried in the same cemetery but most of the inscriptions have weathered away. This one is still legible - but for how much longer, I wonder?

So, that's 'G' for Graves - next, 'G' for Gunmakers.

My interest in genealogy isn't limited to my own ancestors; I've been researching my husband's family too, for the benefit of our children. His 'lot' are quite a different 'kettle of fish' - his mother's side having spent generations in India whilst his father's line were mainly Londoners (but I tracked them back to one John Breeze, born 1824, in Shropshire - rat-catcher, extraordinaire!)

Some of hubby's maternal line were very much involved in the gun trade - making them, I hasten to add! They settled in the gun-quarter of Birmingham and it seems the whole family were involved, with some of them skilled in engraving the guns, making bags and boxes to hold guns - one of them even joined the army and became quite a marksman!

This is hubby's Great Grandfather, Sgt. Robert 'Harry' Brown, with the Roupell Cup which he won at Bisley in 1908. He also won a medal for shooting the previous year, in the London Olympics of 1908. (don't you just love that moustache!)


  1. Old graveyards are always so interesting to wander around in.

  2. Hi Sue .. your previous post was interesting - in the records book forever for your misdemeanours .. and now graves and guns - loved the graves stories - Scottish stonemasons so world renowned for their work ..

    We used to live a few miles from Bisley when I was growing up - none of the family shot though, but it's a town "I know about" .. and the Olympic connections ...

    Cheers Hilary

  3. Love to explore graveyards! Some of the best are the most difficult to access.

  4. Sad that the inscriptions will soon be gone from those stones. Great that you found them when you did. That lineage is fascinating...and the gunmakers?? wow. How could you not hit the hubby's side of the tree!

    Great work Sue.

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

  5. Thanks for your visit to my blog! It is nice that when you visit a cemetery, you can find some family resting there - as far as we know, none of my family from the last two generations have any markers. I do have family in Scotland and a cousin had been doing some genealogy work, so maybe on my next visit I'll make a discovery!