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  1. #1
    Brick wall demolition expert!
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Things you'll never know about your ancestors

    Before the emergence of photos, there were obviously details that people never thought of recording.

    These include:
    Hair colour
    Eye colour
    Height
    Build
    Weight
    Disabilities

    What else would you want to know about your ancestors?

  2. #2
    Mutley
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinC View Post
    Before the emergence of photos, there were obviously details that people never thought of recording.
    These include: Hair colour, Eye colour, Height, Build, Weight, Disabilities

    What else would you want to know about your ancestors?
    Body Colour, or Race or Nationality?

  3. #3
    Settling in.
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Duncraig, Western Australia
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    One of my great grandfathers enlisted as a British soldier in 1875. His army records tell us that his height was 5 feet 6 and three quarter inches, and he had light brown hair and grey eyes. One of my husband's ancestors was a convict transported to Western Australia...the records give not only his height and build, but even details of the tattoos on his arms.
    Some of the census records in the UK have a column for disability, and if you can find ancestors amongst the gentry, you may find their portrait on Wikipedia, as the wealthy often commissioned artists to paint their picture for posterity and some of these portraits are now on the internet.
    Happy hunting!

  4. #4
    Loves to help with queries Philippa_Harvey's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    Canberra, Australia
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    244

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    One of my Irish convict ancestors was described as 5'9", sandy hair, freckled complexion and grey eyes. My other 3 convicts (2 Irish, one English) have been hiding their paperwork so I really only know their names and approximate ages.

    As for the well behaved or "came free" ancestors from the UK, there's nothing about their appearances at all, at least not yet!!

    Philippa

  5. #5

    Default

    There is a full physical description of my father in his WW2 RAF record -- height, weight, complexion and distinguishing marks (there were none). I find it strange that his most distinguishing mark was not recorded -- he was completely bald from the age of 18 and I guess this would have been unusual for someone joining the RAF in 1940 aged 25.

    All the best,

    Malcolm Webb
    Lincoln UK

  6. #6
    Knowledgeable and helpful
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    Oct 2007
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    Wiltshire
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    The father of Timothy Prenton, John, was a tidewaiter in Cheshire and was literate. Sons of Timothy were master mariners. Yet Timothy was illiterate and a fisherman. Was he dyslexic, or have poor eyesight in an age before corrective lenses? As the family owned property it is unlikely to have been lack of education. Poor Timothy; he doesn't even have a baptism of his own. I think he's hiding under multiple entries for older brothers named John. pwholt

  7. #7
    Famous for offering help & advice
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    Romsey, Hants
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    Body Colour, or Race or Nationality?
    Ah, but they often did, see, for example this page on the TNA website:
    nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/work_community/docs/belisarius_list.htm
    I have also seen records (baptisms, marriages, etc) which include descriptions such as a black or a negro and I'm almost certain that there's a memorial in Romsey Abbey that mentions the man's race.

    Colin

  8. #8
    Yeates
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    Don’t forget about ship records of emigrating ancestors. I love the image in my mind of a Cornish aunt listed on the ship’s manifest as ‘5 ft 4 inches; fair complexion with golden hair and brown eyes.”
    Yeates

  9. #9
    Liane Hawes
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinC View Post
    Before the emergence of photos, there were obviously details that people never thought of recording.

    These include:
    Hair colour
    Eye colour
    Height
    Build
    Weight
    Disabilities

    What else would you want to know about your ancestors?


    Ooh I would love to know what hobbies they might have had, (money and time depending) did they go fishing for pleasure or play an instrument, maybe they were in the church choir.

  10. #10
    Loves to help with queries
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    Nov 2010
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    Gympie, Qld, Australia
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    The question that teases my mind is why my ancestors, who lived on the Isle of Wight and who had twelve children, had one child born in Frimley, Surrey; all the rest were born on the Isle of Wight.

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