A New Tree and a Grant of Probate

The latest version of the Gramps software we use to track our family tree has a new engine for generating a website based on the data you’ve entererd. I’m yet to be convinced it’s an improvement over the previous version, but you can judge for yourself here – or by clicking on the link on the right.

I’ve not done much since the last update on the Crawfords, except reorganising our folder full of certificates and census searches to make it easier to find things – and more importantly to find out areas that are missing and therefore worthy of further investigation.

In other news, we’ve finally recieved the Grant of Probate for dealing with my Dad’s estate – which is a relief, but it does mean I’ve a whole lot of people to write to again…

Liverpool 2 – 0 West Ham

After bad results against Fulham and Crystal Palace, the Reds returned to winning ways with a goal in each half from Xabi Alonso and then Bolo Zenden.

Next up is Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday night – a victory then and a win for Chelsea against Real Betis would secure qualification for the next stage.

James Crawford

The 1851 Census is now online at Ancestry.co.uk so I’ve been doing a little more digging into the Crawford Line.

We discovered that William Sherratt had married Eliza Crawford in 1859, and that on the 1871 Census Eliza’s father – James Crawford – was living with them at 16 Perry Street in Runcorn.

Searching the 1861 Census show James Crawford was then living with his wife Margaret, a few houses along at 105 Perry Street – along with three sons Jonathan (22), Henry (20) and Edwin (11). On this census James’ profession is listed as a labourer at the Soap Works, which was quite common in Runcorn at the time. William and Eliza Sherratt are listed living at 116 Perry Street – I don’t know if that means they moved to number 16 sometime between 1861 and 1871 or the street just got renumbered!

Going back to the 1851 Census James and Margaret Crawford are listed living at 107 Halton Lane in Runcorn with six children – William (21), Mary (20), Eliza (15), Jonathan (12), Henry (10) and Edward (1) (presumably Edwin on the 1861 Census). Also living with them is a Henry Crawford (29) who is listed as James’ brother – however both are just shown as labourers so still no clues to the biscuit connection.

However both the brothers and the eldest son William are shown as being born in Duddon, which is on the road between Chester and Tarporley, so the next step would seem to be to investigate the Crawfords of that area to see what we can find.

A Great Weekend

We had a great weekend (despite Liverpool losing 2-0 at Fulham) with Graham, Rachel and Mark staying Saturday through to Monday morning.

Mark and Megan had a fantastic time playing together – in particular at Kelburn Country Centre where the Secret Forest and the magic show were a big hit. Graham took lots of photos so we’ll get them uploaded to the gallery this week. They wore each other out – mums and dads getting much longer lie-ins than normal.

It’s back to nursery today though, and then gymnastics in the afternoon – although Heather Scotts’ coming for lunch so I’m not sure Dad’s going to get much peace today!

In other news we’ve just found out Emma is off down under to head up the legal department of Hitach Data Systems – it’s a fantastic opportunity and she’s got a new blog so she can hopefully keep us all up to date with what’s going on. It’s all happened so quickly she’s off at the end of the week, so we wish her the best of luck and we’ll be thinking about her when she jets off on Friday.

OpenOffice.org 2.0

It’s been a long time coming but you can finally download the new version of OpenOffice from their website.

To quote them…

OpenOffice.org 2.0 is the productivity suite that individuals, governments, and corporations around the world have been expecting for the last two years. Easy to use and fluidly interoperable with every major office suite, OpenOffice.org 2.0 realises the potential of open source.

With new features, advanced XML capabilities and native support for the OASIS Standard OpenDocument format, OpenOffice.org 2.0 gives users around the globe the tools to be engaged and productive members of their society.

To quote me…

It’ll do everything that Micro$oft Office will, and it won’t cost you a bean. 😀

The Stricklands

Graham, Rachel and Mark are all coming up for a visit this weekend – Megan’s already almost beside herself with excitement, but it’s half term at the nursery so she’s been hyper all week.

I think Mum’s just about fit to drop after this week – they’ve managed to fit a swim at the Hydro, new haircuts all round (and a new colour for Angela) and a trip to the Ideal Homes Show at the SECC (Dad was a bit worried about that one, but they managed to come back without a new mortgage) as well as all the regular midweek activities.

To keep him out of trouble Dad’s got a couple of live migrations (Highland Council and Oxford City) on the go that will run into this weekend too, but hopefully they’ll be out of the way by the time our visitors arrive…

Anderlecht 0 – 1 Liverpool

Another strike from Djibril Cisse in the first half was enough for three points in Belgium tonight, leaves the Reds top of the group with Chelsea on seven points.

Liverpool controlled the first half well, and although Anderlecht came back into the game in the second they never really threatened to get the equaliser.

It’s the return game at Anfield next, and three points there could be enough to secure qualification if Chelsea can win at Real Betis the same night.


First it was NTL now its ScottishPower trying it on. 😦

We got a letter through this morning with the usual price rises, but hidden in the small print was an extra charge (80p + VAT per week) as our house is ‘serviced by an Independent Gas Transporter’. Basically this means that its not Transco that owns the pipes to our house and the gas meter, but a third party – which means as a supplier ScottishPower have to pay both Transco and the IGT in order to supply gas to us.

Sounds reasonable then that there should be an extra charge (although 80p + VAT per week sounds a bit steep), until you take into account who our IGT is – ScottishPower of course.

So ScottishPower are charging us extra because they have to pay themselves in order to supply our gas – and when faced with this obvious ludicrous state of affairs their response was ‘it’s the regulations – we can’t discriminate against other IGTs so you have to pay what we charge customers with a different IGT’.

That may be true (although if it is the regulations are a nonsense) but it leaves us with no option but to pay – we can’t switch supplier as they could then reasonably claim the extra payment as ScottishPower would still be our IGT.

I’ll think I’ll have a word with Nicky Campbell…

Liverpool 1 – 0 Blackburn

Only the second win of the season for the Reds (for a long while it looked like it might be draw number five) but Djibril Cisse’s strike mid way through the second half was enough for all three points.

There were enough chances to have won the game comfortably, but both Cisse and Morientes were guilty of some glaring misses – hopefully they’ll have found their shooting boots for the next Champions League game at Anderlecht on Wednesday.


Over recent weeks NTL have been plumbing new depths of customer (lack of) service and, with no end in sight, I thought it was worth retelling the tale here – to warn the unwary!

NTL supplied both TV and Phone service to my dad’s house and after he died I wrote to them explaining the situation, requesting a bill and asking what we needed to do in order to maintain the supply over the next few months – this was back in the middle of August. I’d tried the Customer (lack of) Service phone number first, but they advised I’d need to put everything in writing.

Early in September a final Reminder Notice dropped through our door (our door note, not my dad’s!) for an overdue balance of £82.23. Now at this point I’d not even received a reply to my letter, never mind a bill, but they’d clearly received and digested it’s contents since the reminder was sent to me (in Scotland) rather than to my dad (at his house).

Slightly cheesed off I sent another letter, along with payment of the ‘overdue balance’ and a copy of the original letter, again explaining the situation and requesting information on how we might maintain supply.

The cheque was cashed on 22nd September but the next communcation, received around the end of September, was another bill – this time for £166.46 – again sent to me in Scotland. Now this bill was a remarkable work of fiction, purporting to be for the period 22 September to 21 October, but including calls from July and August which had clearly been the cause of the ‘overdue balance’ that was already paid – they were basically billing us twice for these calls.

Now completely cheesed off a third letter was sent at the end of September, requesting the termination of the account and final bill (I stopped short of telling them where they could put their set top boxes). Shortly after that I received a generic letter, admitting there were problems with the previous bill that will be corrected, but still nothing actually addressed to me that wasn’t a bill or a final reminder.

It’s been a fortnight since the last letter so tomorrow we brave the Customer (lack of) Service phone number again – and this time it won’t be pretty…