This week I have seen an influx of books and because of this I have not had chance to sit and really read any of them. In fact 8 ripper books landed on the mat this week, so finding one which really grabbed my attention was difficult.
The one, which I was unable to put down however, was “Jack the Ripper, The Murders and The Movies, by Denis Meikle.
It is an unreadable book packed with trivia, anecdotes and useful essays on the films and Tv apearances of JTR. There are ton’s of promotional pictures, art cards, and film stills to pour over.
The thing I like the most, is that you can pick it up and read it from any point, not having to worry about how things are moving. That coupled with the fact that I am a big movie fan anyway satisfied my needs this week!
A great book, which answers every ripper related movie quiestion ever raised!
It has been a busy week for me as the kids are off school and I have been sat at home with my two children all week. I did manage to get a couple of hours at Local Studies Library in Hull. My trip was to research an up and coming location for our team “Ghosttrackers”. As I studied the Trade Directories I came across a familier name.
Stephenson- The Missing Link?
When Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s father Richard was married, there was a witness present who signed their name “M.A.Stephenson”. For years I searched for this person, thinking it to be his father, and Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s Grandfather. I came across only females in Hull using the prefix of “M” and remembered that in one of the Trade Directories, there was a Richard Stephenson, residing with a “Mary Ann Stephenson”. Several searches later revealed this to be his sister, thus Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s Auntie.
I never gave up and began researching this Mary Ann, and this week it payed off!
A while back it was suggested that “Dixon Stephenson” was The father of Richard, and Grandfather of Robert D’Onston Stephenson. Sure enough, Mary Ann, is residing with her Father in the Lowgate area of Hull. Both are working in the Dress making industry!
I now have copies of the trade directories and burgess rolls which show the families location for this period, and add’s another piece to the jigsaw!
It started as a brief search on a genealogical site I use for local history work, and evolved into contact with a descendant of the Stephenson/Dawber clan!!
The gent in question is no longer in the UK and in 2001 he began a search for his ancestors who were based in Hull, in the parish of Sculcoates.
His surname caught my attention so I contacted him and awaited his response, and it didn’t take long.
He informed me of several known dates that relate to the family, back in the early 1800’s. These were events that I had researched but not posted publicly so his knowledge backed up my research.
It was not enough though, I simply wanted more, so he sent me his full family tree!
There were dates and events which I knew about but also loads of new material!
The tree dated back to the early 1700’s, I only had details from 1780!
The tree covered 1950 to the present day, were as my dates had come to a brick wall by the 1950’s!
The reason was simple, the family had left the UK and moved abroad!
We are in regular contact and he has put me in contact with other family members, and several businesses with links to the family!
The Jack the Ripper A-Z by Paul Begg, Martin Fido and Keith Skinner is a one stop reference guide to all things ripper!
Although some of the entries are outdated now, there is loads of great info in here, and it is so easy to use! It is a book that can be read from start to finish, finish to start or just skip to your fave suspect!
The three writers/researchers/ripper experts have pulled off what must have been a mammoth task (tusk!) and made this book a must have.
It took me ages to get a copy, just because I was hoping and praying on a new edition, it seem’s an updated edition is as mythical as the Royal Conspiracy but we can all hope!
I for one, would give up free time to help!
A great book which should be a part of any student of the case’s bookshelf!
Earlier this year Hull Daily Mail set up the website “Your Mail” which enables residents to create there own space, stories, and user groups on the website.
I joined early and began posting on local issues, crime, policing, and local history. I was the first ever user to win the £100 for the best articles on both local history and Jack the Ripper.
The work so far includes several stories on Robert D’Onston Stephenson, and is quickly becoming a popular group.
I also run a “Haunted Hull” group, and a “Paranormal Hull” group which have attracted members and some great posts.
The site has also put me in touch with Hull folk who have similar intrests and has helped my research no end.
Haunted Hull Group,
Apart from digitising all the files I have been receiving, I have also taken time to look at the family tree’s of both Stephenson and Dawber.
With suprising results!
I have had contact with three members of the Dawber family via the internet, and two more via mail and all are very open about their family tree’s. The question is are they related to the Dawber’s of Hull?
One proved very intresting and scanned several documents that so far fall into the jigsaw!
In other news, an important part of the Stephenson family was, after 2 years of searching, traced last night!! I have appointments to view the Death Certificates, and Probate Calendars, and will of course cross reference this with local newspaper obituaries on Tuesday (health permitting).
Hull Daily Mail’s website “Yoursay” sent a crew around to film me on there site, we had a lively discussion on both the ripper and the paranormal and they are intrested in stories on both, watch this space!!
The appearance on Humberside Paranormal Radio went well, and I have been asked to be a monthly speaker. Rave reviews for the show came from far and wide and I will be appearing on a Friday evening to discuss both subjects.
A trawl through an antiques shop rewarded me with a wonderful colour picture of the Old Town Hall in Hull. Up until now only black and white shots have been discovered, so I was pleased to find a colour image.
The Town Hall was the location for Richard Stephenson Junior, to take his seat as one of Hull’s East Sculcoates Councillor’s. In later years it was a place he visited regularly when he was involved in several scandals!!
I recieved a massive file this week on the company Dawber, Stephenson and Co and the vessel’s they owned to ship slate from Wales! The file is massive, and full of ships names, captains, crew etc!
I know I was going to take it easy, but when you get new material through the door, it is difficult to just sit on, and my aim, is to digitise as much of it as possible.
This week was a great week for info on the Dawber family. I found a couple of, what appeared to be single sheet agreements for jobs in the 1860’s.
When they arrived however, I was suprised to find that they were mutiple pages in two massive files!
This all adds to my massive chronology on Robert D’Onston Stephenson, and his family, which now runs at over 1 thousand entries!
I am now taking it easier than I have been, with no archive visits planned for the foreseeable future. My health comes first, but when the letterbox is full of new stuff, it’s is hard to resist!
Running a little behind this week, but I will explain all in another post shortly.
This week, I have been re-reading The London of Jack the Ripper, Then and Now!
This fantastic book is worthy of any historian or ripperologists shelves, it has some of the greatest pictures of the local, in a clear well presented, and researched piece.
The guys pulled off a major coup by obtaining “The Whitby Collection”, a series of wonderful shots including Hanbury Street!
The pictures are crisp, clear and not fuzzy like earlier books of this type.
The writing style is concise and easy to understand, firing fact after fact at such a fast pace, that you have finished reading it before you realise!
A great book by two fantastic guys!
It was a trip I would have to make sooner or later, I had known for about 2 years they had files that I had wanted to get my hands on, and parish registers from the Sculcoates area that needed to be looked at.
With this in mind I arranged a visit to look at the relavant files that I had discovered via The National Archives Website.
What struck me about the East Riding Archives Centre, is just how nice the place is, not just the multi million pound building, but the staff too!
The Centre, which is a large bright building is just five minutes from the railway station, and has parking out the front, facilities imclude, toilets, storage lockers, cafe and shop, as well as a local studies library, and a special area just for preservation of artefacts.
Within the archives and Local Studies section are,
Birth, Marriage and Death lists,
And a massive collection of Local History Books.
The archive is made up of,
Parchments, Paper, Rolls, Files, volumes, deeds, letters, diaries, accounts, maps, photographs, videos, tapes and electronic records.
There is a photocopying service available,
Plenty of Microfiche readers,
Free Internet access,
It was a worthy visit, and one which will be made again soon!!
Monday - 9.30 am to 5.00 pm
Telephone number: 01482 392790
East Riding of Yorkshire Archives and Local Studies
East Riding of Yorkshire Archives and Local Studies