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The Teal Pages. Page 1: Cook / Unwin

PAGE 2. Naylor / Ball

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Maternal influences

"I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable." Boo-Bah; from The Mikado.

Nanki Poo

George Cook as Nanki-Poo

It is with great delight that I am creating another colour supplement. In part this is an administrative move as the main (red) section was getting very full and increasingly difficult to navigate around. It is also however the new area for stories, recollections and memorabilia about the maternal side of my family.

First and foremost are the pages relating to my grandfather, George Cook. He was a very keen Savoyard and I have been able to use several of his photographs to illustrate a series of reviews that I wrote a couple of years ago about the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Aspects of his story appear on several pages in this section and these have now been brought together in a single article.

We have continued to gather details of the descendents of Walter Cook and his wife Elizabeth Burditt. These add the Unwin and Putterill families to our genealogical wood with flavours of rural Leicestershire and urban Lancashire. We have added a trio of articles about the originals of the Cook family in Grandborough and other villages in Buckinghamshire and followed the paths of several of Walter Cook's brothers and cousins. These latest articles also add other families which have become entwined with the Cooks from earlier times. These include Janes, Newman, Foskett and Toms.

My grandmother, Miriam Naylor, came from a large family of coalminers - she had seven older brothers!. It has taken some time to tease out the branches that originated in the villages near Alfreton in Derbyshire. Their stories have now been collected together in a series of articles which can be found on Page 2 of this section.

In the mean time, thank you for reading. Enjoy!!

Alan Craxford

Page added: September 5th 2006
Last modified: June 26th 2020

Meet the editors

Eva Unwin, UK

Eva Unwin

Eva Unwin
Associate Editor

I am delighted to welcome 'Auntie Eva' to this page. In reality we are first cousins (once removed) but old habits - and family titles - are hard to break. Eva now lives in 'retirement' in Humberside although she will be the first to admit that she looks forward to her day trips and relishes her lunches out! She is our remaining link back to our Victorian roots in the Leicester area and with her insightful articles of memories and reminiscences about her parents, aunts and uncles and her portrait gallery this circle is just about complete.


†   EVA UNWIN   †
Jul 31, 1919 - Sep 1, 2008

This page is dedicated to her memory

Helen Todd, UK

It's all about the dash


Helen Kerr
Associate Editor

Seven years ago, I entered my maternal grandmother's name, Maud Elizabeth Kate Toms née Cook (1893-1981), into Google and was astounded when details of her and my grandfather appeared from Alan Craxford's website. Not only that, it showed me details, stories and even photos of my ancestors going back seven generations to the 1700s in Grandborough, Buckinghamshire. It gave me a sense of place and identity but also opened up many questions. Why did my great grandfather, Vincent Cook (1862-1941), move to Watford, the place of my birth? Who were his siblings? Did they stay in touch? Why have I never met any of my third cousins and their parents?

It is only this year that I have rekindled my connection with The Craxford Family Genealogy Magazine. I spent some time before that researching facts on a well-known genealogy site but, although such sites enabled me to find family members, it did not give any detail. Someone, I can't remember who, once said, "It's all about the dash, you know, the dash between the date of birth and the date of death. That's the interesting bit, but is reduced to a dash."

Bridges and avenues: that's what this project has brought me. Bridges to family members in other parts of the UK and beyond. It transpires that Alan and I are third cousins, sharing the same great-great grandfather, Joseph Cook (1827-1881). You see, there's the "dash!" … and did you spot Maud's and Vincent's "dashes" in the first paragraph? (in Part 2a Vincent of the trilogy). Bridges to family members I haven’t seen for years. Avenues of research to find out and contribute to the stories and understanding of the Cooks from the 1700s family right up to the current generations of my first cousins and their children.

My reminiscences have become part of helping to bring the "dashes" of our family members to life. Such a privilege.

Helen Todd (née Kerr)
1951- (my dash is still going strong)
June 7th 2020

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Feature articles

Walter Cook: Access the article TOO MANY COOKS .... SPOIL THE BRATS?
“Grandpa Walter walked all the way to Leicester from London, you know!” ...

George Cook in uniform: Access the article "A WAND'RING MINSTREL I!"
Married life appears to have been happy and suited George until tragedy struck in 1916 ...

Walter Cook, Minister: Access the article A COOK'S TOUR AROUND MY FAMILY
“Grandma Cook took in the baby and was paid to look after her ... "

Nellie Swann: Access the article AUNTIE NELLIE'S STORY: NELLIE YOULE SWANN (1894-1970)
"I gather that she was the best educated of the lot of them ..."

"Then around the turn of the last century the letter "d" was dropped from the records (possibly because the name Grandborough was considered too "grand" by the inhabitants)."

"In the early nineteenth century the town in places was no more than 200 yards wide and there was an increasing divide in living conditions between the north west and south east end of the town. ."

"Something devastating befell the family sometime over the next two years. Stephen and Elizabeth were to have another three babies over the next three years but all three, along with Joseph Stephen and the mother herself, were dead by February 1860."

Arthur Unwin at work, a photograph taken in the 1950s: Access the article LETTERS FROM TWO FRONTS
"Well Nan I can't tell you what port we are going to or what cargo we have for Mr Censor won't allow it of course. "

Arthur Unwin: Access the article QUITE A CHARACTER WAS MY DAD
"He was a bit of a rover in his younger days and worked in many places... "

"A good holiday beats a good husband any day!!"

Scunthorpe Garden of Remembrance: Access the article EVA UNWIN: 1919 - 2008
"It is in that love that you have called her home, free from pain"

" I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule."

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