Following in the Footsteps of My Elusive Ancestors Scattered throughout Vale and Dale.

AND as there are Plenty of those Gnarled Branches and Fallen Leaves in MY Family Tree – I have Many Miles to Travel!

Panel 1

The Yorky History Lass.


‘You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.’

~ William Wilberforce

Those Gnarled Branches and Fallen Leaves


Although I have been ‘properly’ researching the history of my family since 2004 – my interest in the gnarled branches and fallen leaves of my family tree began in the early teenage years.

And having always been a diligent hoarder of the scraps of family keepsakes that have come my way; those numerous large boxes of files, papers, books, photographs and other assorted genealogical matter that I have shifted down and up several sets of stairs with every house move over the years has NOT been for the faint-hearted!

King George VI once stated that “the history of York is the history of England’ and this ancient city is not only the place of my birth but also for many of those Bensons, Dalbys, Edesons and Peacocks to whom I have since laid claim – although some of whom certainly add more than a little colour to those fallen leaves.

And even though there is MORE than enough to to occupy me within the walls of this chocolate box city – I have also been very busy elsewhere.

The Female of the SPECIES?


As my interest has been piqued as of late by the welcome appearance of several Yorkshire lasses within my clan recently discovered including thrice-wed grandmothers, social reformers, lunatics and unmarried mothers – my feelings of female solidarity have been awakened.

And with the floors of my den now littered with the fruits of my genealogical findings – I’m off in search of a more feminine line.

NOT that I believe that my female ancestors were actually deadlier than their male counterparts!

in search of those elusive ancestors...


Blood Sweeps the Land in November.

As I watched from the shadows as the volunteers carefully plucked the ceramic poppies from the muddy ground and into the safety of their cardboard nests – I was feeling disappointed that no poppy would be finding its forever home with me.

Late for a VERY Important Date!

Although I don’t usually enjoy receiving brown envelopes through the post – I will make an exception when one arrives from the General Records Office or the GRO as it known here in the UK.


Panel 2

This Silent Land?


‘Pity is for the living. Envy is for the dead.’

Mark Twain

The Graveyard Squirrel


Have you ever heard the one about how there are only two things that are certain to us?

The first one being that we are all subject to some form of taxation and the second is that one day we WILL all die.

As a genealogical researcher my time is usually spent grappling with the mystery of death.

And if I’m not in search of a missing ancestor or researching another life long lost to history – I will be poring over the details on a newly discovered and often indecipherable certificate of death or trawling through the parish records in search of a burial entry.

Being able to locate the final resting place of those from my research endeavours has always been an important task and an unsuccessful search is disappointing as the final piece of the jigsaw remains missing.

However, if you struggle with the thought of death and have no wish to contemplate it – MY world is probably NOT for you!

A WANDERER OF GRAVEYARDS


As I love nothing more than a ramble through a graveyard and have been pottering among the tombstones for as long as I can remember – I will be sharing the tales and triumphs of family history and the images and podcasts of my wanderings among the dead.

The author Lailah Gifty Akita once said that – “The graveyard is an everlasting home of every man” and within most of our cemeteries there is evidence of spectacular craftsmanship, awe inspiring stonework, history, sublime words of poignancy AND the occasional flashes of humour ALL just waiting to be discovered!

See YOU On the Other Side?

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS SILENT LAND?


For all of those genealogy tales, ancestor gossip AND the whispers from the graveyard – subscribe to This Silent Land to bring forth EVERY snippet of chatter direct to your inbox!

#Graveyardsquirrel #TeeAndTombstones #GraveSleuth


Panel 3

Desperately Seeking Clarice!


‘If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.’

~ George Bernard Shaw

Many years ago as my Grandmother was regaling me with a myriad of family tales and folklore over tea and homemade cake that my interest was  piqued at the first mention of ‘Poor Clarice’.

For as every family history sleuth knows – there is usually always a least one ancestor who ignites a strange curiosity leading to that irresistible urge to discover more about their life and I’ve been desperately seeking Clarice through the mists of time ever since.

in the footsteps of the girl from hull.


Panel 4

Waking the Dead of York



DEATH – noun.

The end of the life of a person.

CHOCOLATE BOX – adjective.

Pretty in a superficial way or a romanticized aesthetic.

WITH THE COMING OF DUSK…


And with the door of an atelier closed for the day – it is possible to catch a glimpse of a celebrated miniaturist and storyteller clad in her distinctive black feline boots wandering through the snickelways and secret passages of York in a quest to wake the dead.

ORDINARY FOLK. EXTRAORDINARY DEATHS.


And for those of a curious and hardy temperament – why not come along and listen to the Lady Brigante as she shares with you the tales of the illustrious, the miscreants, artists, misfits and those ordinary folk who have ALL been lost to history – until now!

However, for those of a sensitive nature who are averse to real stories of tears, heartache and tragedy – a meander through the fascinating streets of York with the Lady Brigante may NOT be to your taste.

WHO OR WHAT IS DEATH IN A CHOCOLATE BOX?


Inspired by true crime stories from the Victorian era and through the lives of ordinary people whose tales are woven into the rich fabric of an ancient city’s social history – Death in a Chocolate Box offers walking tours through the streets of York.

Meticulously researched and innovative – the tours are designed to offer an informative and unique walk with an experienced storyteller.

Browse the shelves of our emporium for the deliciously unusual or become a fellow taphophile on our forum Beneath Thy Feet to quench those unanswered questions or dispel gossip from truth!

And if you would like to dig deeper and take a peek at the bundles of old documents, burial records, and hear the untold tales of nefarious deeds and suspicious deaths from the exclusive Brigante archives – why not become a Snickel Sleuth and step inside the twilight world of a celebrated storyteller and seeker of the dead?

CURIOUS MUCH?