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Musical Ancestors

GUEST, Sminky 12 Jun 09 - 10:30 AM
nickp 12 Jun 09 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 12 Jun 09 - 12:47 PM
Mooh 12 Jun 09 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,mg 12 Jun 09 - 03:01 PM
VirginiaTam 12 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM
John P 12 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM
The Sandman 13 Jun 09 - 08:50 AM
Vic Smith 13 Jun 09 - 09:10 AM
The Sandman 13 Jun 09 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Jim P 13 Jun 09 - 11:09 AM
Janie 13 Jun 09 - 11:16 AM
Janie 13 Jun 09 - 11:44 AM
Nick 13 Jun 09 - 12:25 PM
BobKnight 14 Jun 09 - 09:39 AM
Stringsinger 14 Jun 09 - 12:16 PM
Rowan 14 Jun 09 - 10:44 PM
Janie 15 Jun 09 - 12:40 AM
Weasel 15 Jun 09 - 02:47 AM
davyr 15 Jun 09 - 04:42 AM
bubblyrat 15 Jun 09 - 05:02 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 15 Jun 09 - 07:34 AM
Rumncoke 15 Jun 09 - 10:08 AM
Amos 15 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM
Marilyn 04 Mar 10 - 05:33 AM
GUEST, Sminky 04 Mar 10 - 08:41 AM
Leadfingers 04 Mar 10 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: Musical Ancestors
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 10:30 AM

It's always nice to discover ancestors you never knew you had. Even better that they were musical.

This note was written into the register of baptisms of Burtonwood St.Michael in Lancashire:

"I give to the Parishioners of Burtonwood Chapel an Hautboy for the use of their Singers. My will concerning the Instrument is this - That Thomas Simkin who now has it in possession, continue to be the Player of it during his pleasure : and that every future Disposal of it devolve upon the Chapel-Warden for the time being : of whom I particularly request that he will endeavour to place it in the hands of such a Person as may apply it best to the Purposes for which it is designed.

James Cawley - Sub-Curate of Burtonwood.
January 26th 1794.
"

Thomas Simkin was my 3 x Gt Grandfather.

Anyone else with musical forebears?


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: nickp
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 10:42 AM

My great grandfather was a church organist and music teacher. For a while he was at the church in Aysgarth (Falls, Yorkshire) and it was good to be able to go there last year and wander round.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 12:47 PM

Being adopted as an infant, I was raised by two great parents, neither of whom had much inclination toward music. It was not encouraged in me, but Dad was willing to invest in a used cornet for my elementary school band. I later bought a badly used Stella guitar and taught myself to play by ear at around age 11.

It was not until I was 61 that I finally met and got to know my biological mother. Today, we are very close and I have gotten to know a whole new extended family, many of whom are musical. My mother was a church pianist and organist and one niece is an accomplished pianist as well. All those years, I wondered what it was that drove me so much toward music. It wasn't as if I had a choice. I think it has to be genetic.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 01:01 PM

Mum played piano and sight read pretty good, at least good enough to hack away at hymns at little churches where my Dad, as minister, sometimes had to find quick sunstitute organists.

My grandfather, who I never knew as he died before I was born, played fiddle, and I'm lucky enough to have it in my possession. He was something of a folk player, Scottish, and pretty good legend says.

Dad was okay at the keys, but had a genius musical mind, composed for choirs and other groups, including some childrens stuff, could sight sing and harmonize, and play a melody on any instrument he touched. His ears were gold, calling out missed intervals and singing the correction as family members played their practice pieces.

Beyond that, I don't know...

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:01 PM

My mother's family was very musical. And on my father's side my great great grandfather was named Cornelius Lyons..not sure if there is any relation to the great harper by the same name or not but a second cousin told me that our ggm had a father who was a famous musician...I don't think it was the harper himself but could be a relative. mg


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM

My Gammy (maternal grandmother) played (self taught by ear) autoharp and piano. Mostly hymn. I know she wrote hymns too, but I don't knwo what happened to them.

My Mom sang with her sisters on radio in the 1940's and spent lifetime doing church soloist duty, weddings and funerals. She will be 82 in August and is still going strong with the Singing Saints.

On my dad's side, he used to hum, whistle and sing for fun and could carry a tune.

Evidently someone was either drummer or fifer(?) or maybe both during US Revolution because both a fife and drum were handed down to to my dad by his granddad. He took them to show at school when we has a boy and the teacher asked to borrow them for the weekend to show a historian. He then claimed they were stolen. Think my dad said he was 8 or 9 and his parents (Quakers) wouldn't pursue the loss legally.   

That would have been around 1929 or 1930.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: John P
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM

My great grandfather was a fiddler for barn dances. His was one of the early farms near Pentwater, Michigan. Both of his daughters were very musical, classically trained.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 08:50 AM

my Grandfather played the fiddle,as did his mother,they were travellers.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 09:10 AM

My mother's father's cousin's son's wife's father's father was the great fiddle player and singer John Stickle from Unst in the Shetlands, who supplied the folk revival with fantastic tunes like The Waterman's Hornpipe and the mind-boggling version of the rare ballad, King Orfeo, which can be heard on the Topic FSGB set of albums. Read about him in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for 1968

And John's grandfather was another great and important fiddle player Friedmann Stickle.

So.... I want a bit more respect around here now that it is established that I am from such an important traditional singing and fiddling family!


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 10:13 AM

ok,Vic,yours respectfully.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: GUEST,Jim P
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 11:09 AM

Well, my great-great-grandfather, William Clayton, wrote the Mormon hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints," which became sort of a Mormon anthem. Other than that, though, my ancestors seem to have been mostly clerks and haberdashers. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Janie
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 11:16 AM

My grandfather played fiddle and banjo and was a fine singer. Have no clue going farther back.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Janie
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 11:44 AM

But you just inspired me to go my family's genweb site to see if anyone might have family records that indicate earlier ancestors were musicians.

thanks!


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Nick
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 12:25 PM

My grandfather (who I never knew) was a singer and singing teacher amongst other things.

His brother was Maurice Elwin who recorded something in the region of 2000 recordings with Dance Bands (Savoy Orpheans and others) over the 20's and 30's under a huge number of pseudonyms. He latterly taught and coached other singers. He also wrote songs under other names which have been recorded by Gracie Fields, Harry Secombe and others. This was his best known I believe -

AT THE END OF THE DAY
by Donald O'Keefe

Recorded by Gracie Fields;
Josef Locke; Daniel O'Donnell; Dorothy Squires.

At the end of the day just kneel and say
"Thank you, Lord, for my work and play".
I've tried to be good, for I know that I should
That's a prayer for the end of the day.

So when the new dawn begins to break
Just lift up your eyes, let your heart awake
Be ready to meet what the day may send
And be ready to greet every man as a friend

Nobody knows what a power you have found
So do what you can for the others around
Carry them high when they seem to be low
As on your way you go.

At the end of the day just kneel and say
"Thank you, Lord, for my work and play".
I've tried to be good, for I know that I should
That's my prayer at the end of the day.

At the end of the day just kneel and say
"Thank you, Lord, for my work and play".
I've tried to be good, for I know that I should
That's my prayer at the end of the day.


Noone quite knows how many different names he recorded under or why but it was apparently well over 40. I unfortunately never met him. There is a definite family resemblance to my father and he has a rather nice baritone voice.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: BobKnight
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 09:39 AM

My great grandfather, on my granny's side, Donald Stewart (died 1913) was a Scottish piping champion, but then most of my relatives played/play instruments of some kind. My grandfather's eldest sister, Maria Stewart (prounounced like Mariah Carey) married Donald Robertson. Their daughter, my mothers cousin, was Jeannie Robertson, whom some of you may have heard of.

My grandfather's younger brother Jock Stewart had a son called Alec, who married Belle, eventually becoming the Stewarts of Blair.

My father's side of the family are almost unknown to me, but singularly lacking in musical talent of any kind as far as I know. My father only had one "tune" and sang everything to that, although he had a marvelous memory for nonsense poems, and recitations.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Stringsinger
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 12:16 PM

Sometimes musical talent will skip generations. Both Aaron Copland and George Gershwin have said that they didn't have musically talented parents.

I think there is a musical gene. I believe that a propensity for virtuosity in music in genetic. Mozart and other prodigies such as the recent teen-aged violin virtuoso from China are a case in point.

My interest in music was inherited from my mother. I don't know about my father although I was told he liked to sing. On my mother's side, ancestors from Jewish Eastern Europe had musical talent. There were singers, singing teachers and musicians there.

I have heard that the gene for this might be coming through the mother. But there is a
story that is related by Steven Pinker in "The Blank Slate" of the sperm banks that collects from Nobel Prize winners. One of the premier winners in science said that if they wanted sperm they should have gotten it from his parents because his children turned out to be guitar players. (No one has won a Nobel for that yet.)

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 10:44 PM

After singing and playing in a bush band for several years I attended a family reunion/centenary "back-to" at the location my father's family settled (among the first white settlers) in the 1870s. After the locals had sorted out who's progeny I was (we are a scattered lot and I had been away from South Gippsland for many years) they were most interested in my musical activities and mentioned that my paternal grandfather had married into a family (at Arawata) that toured South Gippsland during the early parts of the 20th Century as "The Holmes Family Orchestra". There was also a great uncle who sit on his verandah a mile or more over the valley and play his melodeon, quite audible to my father's family at "Waihola".

I have memories of them playing at local community-hall dances when I was very young but had never been made aware of the significance nor the tradition of the players; there were vast battalions of great aunts and uncles and cousins several times removed and I just knew them, then, as Arawata people.

My grandparents were part of the choir that sang as part of the opening and closing ceremonies at the Melbourne Olympics and I knew they both played instruments. From the competitive collection of teaspoons with crossed tennis racquets, rifles, golf clubs and lawn bowls that cluttered up their cutlery drawer I was surprised there were no teaspoons with crossed violins or vocal chords; they took their activities seriously. As a teenager I found a violin (with a "Stradivarius" label pasted inside, like others that have been the subject of other threads) in my parents' garage; my father had separated and my mother was antagonistic about anything to do with his family so I can only surmise that it had come from Arawata. It was cracked through one of the f holes and, when I took it to Allans' Music (Melbourne's major source of instruments and music at the time), they told me it was not worth repairing. Other subsequent events led me to singing, reciting and, later, fondling the leather ferret, with occasion efforts on mouth organs and single row button accordions with lovely old tone.

My daughters' efforts at the local Eisteddfod both gained them a series of placings (not all were 1sts) sufficient for them to be given Encouragement Award (cheques, as it happened) at yesterday's Gala Concert so, perhaps there is a music gene that has been travelling down the generations.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Janie
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:40 AM

I posted to my family's geneological website yesterday. Doesn't appear there is anything in the historical records of assorted branches of the family that addresses the question. However, a distant cousin who is near my age (57) in Clemson South Carolina responded that both his grandfather and great grandfather played the fiddle and the fiddles are still in the family.

My father and mother both have good voices but were not raised in families that countenanced music. I am one of three sisters, all of whom are musical, but only my younger sister had sufficient passion about it to work at developing her abilities. In addition to not having the passionate desire to work at it, I lacked the self-confidence to believe I could get good at it with practice. I was 49 years old before I understood that I had the innate ability. But I have never had the passion and the dicipline.

The religious beliefs of my paternal grandparents inhibited and stifled what ever musical urges their children may have had. Or possibly it skipped a generation.

On that same side of the family, my first cousin's daughter just graduated from college with a degree in music and is an accomplished pianist, trying to decide where to go next with her music. However, except for singing in the church choirs, neither of her parents or grandparents indicated any interest in music. My 15 year old son has trouble carrying a tune, but has been playing drums and percussion since he was quite small.   He only began formal lessons 1 1/2 years ago. His instructor thinks he has the capacity to develop to be quite good at percussion if he continues to work hard at it.

The paternal side of my family is of Welsh origin, with generous dashes of Scots-Irish and German added on distaff sides during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.   (My paternal grandparents were second cousins.) Any tradition of music comes from their side. I am not aware of anyone from my maternal side singing or playing instruments. My mother loves music, and likes to sing, but is very inhibited about it. There was no tradition in her family at all.   She would have liked to have been a dancer. I have wonderful memories of her when I was a young child, putting on albums of songs of the 30's and 40's, many from musicals, donning a straw hat and grabbing an umbrella for props, and singing and dancing for us in the foyer on Saturday mornings.

What sticks out for me regarding what little I do know about my family and music, is that in each generation for the last 4, one or more are literally driven to learn to become accomplished musicians, in spite of growing up in families that do not strongly encourage the making of music among their offspring.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Weasel
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 02:47 AM

Talking of jumping generations, there were lots of musicians in my family, mainly violin, but I'm told there was also a bassoon player. I never met any of them - all of them were dead before I was born. My parents were not musical at all and I was not pushed towards music in any way.

Cheers,


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: davyr
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:42 AM

My great-great-grandfather was a band musician who drowned in the Princess Alice disaster on the Thames in 1878. The only member of the band to survive was the double bass player who had been on deck - all the others were below when the collision occurred.

I'd love to know what instrument my ancestor played, but don't expect that I'll ever find out.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 05:02 AM

I have not found any genealogical evidence to support any theories as to the musical abilities and /or proclivities of either the Mills family of Lyminster,Sussex,or the Tudors of Oldbury,Gloucestershire.The Ekes of Norfolk look a bit more promising,as my mother,being one,and whom I did not meet until I was fifty,is fond of music & can play the piano (reputedly).Her maternal ancestors,the Neales of Ogbourne St George,Wiltshire,look a bit more probable ,as there are suggestions of Travellers,Gypsies,Italians, Irish,etc lurking in there !!


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:34 AM

My father was church choir-master at Watchet in Somerset, his mother taught several vocal soloists in Liverpool and his brother was a baritone soloist.
My mother was a choral singer and her mother and aunt were both church organists. I have been told that my great-granfather on that side played concertina, but don't know what type.
I don't know much about anyone further back than that except I am told that someone who researched the family tree found a court musician back in the 1700s.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Rumncoke
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:08 AM

My dad played autoharp as a youngster, but his parents did not appear to be musical - though his mother was brought up strict Methodist, and seemed to disapprove of most things.

My mother's family mostly sing, and one sister married a professional musician.

I have not reserched back into my family history - one of my uncles has tried to get information with little luck, even with professional assistance, so we are a bit of a mystery.

At a recent birthday party for one of my aunts, who was 80 years old, I was surprised by the rendition of 'happy birthday' - everyone was in the same key.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM

Daddy played ragtime piano, and Mom played Protestant piano. I was the only sib of five that got into musical stuff. My maternal grandfather, a hard-drinking sharpshooting mining engineer, would sing all night on camping trips and taught his two daughters to sing three-part harmony with him. Having inherited a large number of his traits, including the capacity for drinking and singing all night when I was younger, I always thought him a fine figure of a man. :D


A


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Marilyn
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:33 AM

I wonder if Sminky (OP) and I are related?

My father's family came from Burtonwood in Lancashire where my great-great-grandmother was born in 1795. Her son (my great-grandfather) was a dancing master and very musical I believe.

The population of the area at the time was very small so I guess you could be 'cousin smink' :-)


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:41 AM

Hey cuz!

Give me some names!

I'm planning a 'graveyard tour' of the area soon, most of my ancestors at Burtonwood were buried at Winwick. My Thomas was a gunmaker and eventually moved to Bolton.


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Subject: RE: Musical Ancestors
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:07 AM

My Maternal G Grandfather was Bandmaster of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers - I have his Kneller Hall certificate dated 1881


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