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The first day of Spring – and a bit of Family History


It’s been a long winter here in Glasgow, and today – 21 March – is the spring equinox, the tipping point between days being longer than nights. Leaves are starting to appear on the trees, the daffodils are in full bloom and there’s a definite feeling that summer is just around the corner. So what better day to look at a bit of spring-related genealogy?


Spring Barton’s Family History


Surprisingly, it’s not just parents in the 21st century who might go off-piste with their choice of name for their new arrival. On 19 January 1854, in Hinxworth, Hertfordshire, John Barton and his wife Phoebe called their newborn baby boy Spring. An unusual choice, especially given that Spring was born in winter, and a reminder to genealogists that assuming that a Noel was born at Christmas or a Summer was born in July isn’t a great idea.


Spring’s parents clearly had a thing for more unusual names, as on the 1861 census, again in Hinxworth, Spring’s siblings are Mary, Simeon Henry, and Christiana. Unusual names are of great assistance to genealogists, especially when teamed with a more common

By 1871 Spring had left school, and had one of the most interesting occupations I’ve come across – Fossil Digger. Spring and his neighbour Charles were part of the “coprolite rush” of the 1870s. Coprolites are bits of stone from the cretaceous period, often containing fossils. These were used to produce fertiliser for the booming agricultural revolution, and getting the coprolites involved digging trenches, and hard manual labour. During the 1870s the industry declined, mainly due to cheaper phosphate imports from South America, so this explains why Spring gave his occupation as “carman” in 1879, and why he had moved from rural Hertfordshire to the bright lights of London.


On the 1881 Spring and his wife Mary were living at 25 Berwick Street in central London, and Spring’s occupation is again given as a carman. Their first daughter is the more conventionally named Maud. Spring Barton died young, in the first quarter of 1886 at the age of just 32.


Other seasonal names for your family history


Some other spring-related names located on the census were Daffodil Rogers, born in South Africa in 1898 and by 1901, visiting family in Looe, Cornwall. Or Blossom Mason, born in Chelsea in London in 1852 and in 1891 living in Hammersmith. There is even the marvellously named Sunshine Louise Atwell, born in Bedminster, Bristol to the more ordinarily named George and Mary.


Are there any seasonal or unusual names lurking on your family tree? You’ll only find out if you start to look for them! I can help you seek out your ancestors and find these sorts of connections. Why not make a spring resolution to find your roots?

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