Category Archives: London

The mob chases the witnesses: a Christmas tale pt 13

In the last post in this series, we looked at the inquest into the murder of Celestina Christmas by her mother, held at the North Pole tavern on New North Rd. This time I’ll focus on what happened immediately afterwards: … Continue reading

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Posted in London | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The inquest in the pub: a Christmas tale pt 12

Where’s the obvious place for a Victorian coroner to hold an inquest into the cause of death of a murdered child? The pub, of course. No, really. It’s not as daft as it may seem. Some inquests into ‘suspicious’ deaths … Continue reading

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Posted in London | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Christmas bonus

In my last post about the murder of Celestina Christmas and the story behind it, we visited Murray Street (now Grove) where Mary McNeil killed her children. And over on the Worldwide Genealogy blog, I posted about how I tracked … Continue reading

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Posted in London | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Another murder: a Christmas tale pt 11

Could Celestina Sommer have been inspired to cut her daughter’s throat by another child murder? I believe that it’s at least possible. In the last episode of this story, I mentioned that the two policemen, Inspector Hatton and Sergeant Edward … Continue reading

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Posted in London | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Julia Harrington’s evidence: a Christmas tale pt 10

Julia Harrington, wife of Thomas and mother of Catharine, Hannah and of my 2x great-grandmother Rebecca Harrington, was about to have a terrible shock. It was Monday, 18 February, 1856, the day Charles and Celestina Sommer were charged at Clerkenwell … Continue reading

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Posted in London | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Who killed Celestina? A Christmas tale pt 9

So far, at the lengthy procedures at Clerkenwell Police Court, the evidence against Charles and Celestina Sommer given on Monday, 18 February, 1856, has covered the arrest of the couple for the murder of little Celestina Christmas and the witness … Continue reading

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Posted in London, Trial | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The murder of Celestina Christmas: a Christmas tale pt 8

A little girl’s body, her throat cut, found in a cellar in respectable Linton Street, Finsbury. Readers of the Standard on 19 February, 1856, would already have an idea of who might have murdered her, as I wrote about in … Continue reading

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Posted in London, Trial | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

The body in the cellar: a Christmas tale pt 7

Clerkenwell Police Court was crowded on Monday, 18 February, 1856, when two prisoners were charged with the murder of a young girl – the Islington Murder, as it came to be called. Some of the spectators were neighbours of the … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, London | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

A horrible and mysterious murder: a Christmas tale pt 6

Londoners reading their local newspaper, the Standard, on Monday, 18 February, 1856, would have been brought up short by this headline, tucked away at the bottom of page three under the ship news: Some would have been shocked, perhaps afraid … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, London | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Christmas turns to Sommer: A Christmas tale pt 5

In the last episode, Celestina Elizabeth Christmas’s sisters got married. Celestina was still living with her parents and younger brother Alfred at their house in King Square in Finsbury, north London. In 1852, at 24, she was still marriageable, but … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, London | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Christmas tale pt 4 – what next for Celestina Elizabeth?

Welcome back to the Celestina Christmas story. In the previous episode, we left little Celestina (born 1846) living with my ancestors, Thomas and Julia Harrington and their daughters, Hannah and Rebecca (my 2x great-grandmother). Her mother, Celestina Elizabeth Christmas, was … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, London, Nicholas Delaney | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Christmas tale pt 3 – baby Celestina and the Harringtons

In the last episode of the Celestina Christmas story, we left the older Celestina – born in 1827 – pregnant at the age of 17. This was a disaster for an unmarried girl. She was now ‘soiled goods’ and unlikely … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Christmas tale pt 2: The first Celestina

Welcome back for the second part of our Christmas tale. Last time we met little Celestina Christmas, a ‘visitor’ at the Harringtons’ house in Hackney when the 1851 census was taken. I began to wonder about Celestina. I’ve got quite … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Shoestring Genealogist: two offers for UK research

Researching genealogy on a tight budget? Family bills leaving little cash for family history? I know the feeling. Which is why I’m starting the Shoestring Genealogist, an occasional series of posts to help those of us looking for ancestors – … Continue reading

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Posted in Genealogy, Ireland, London | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Accentuate the Positive 2013 – continued

It’s 2014! A fresh new year in which I hope to pull a few more bricks from those genealogy walls as well as finding out more about the historical background to my ancestors’ lives in Australia and the British Isles. … Continue reading

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Posted in Australia, Genealogy, Ireland, London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments