The Handbrake was having a brief nap this afternoon which was enough to prevent me from firing up the mower (as if I needed an excuse !) so to keep it quiet I resorted to ruining my eyes and continued to scan a set of 1841 Census CDs of Devon which I must have purchased a year or more ago. The quality of some of them was abysmal and I'd almost given up finding old John and the family. Later data hinted strongly at somewhere in the Barnstaple district so I started off on what I feared would be a fruitless search as had been the previous dozen or so attempts.
After about half an hour of heavy going through the often illegible handwriting and 164 years of deterioration, all of a sudden there they were, hiding at Priory Row in Pilton, just west of Barnstaple, Ma and Pa Howard and six littlies. Bliss - as only a family history enthusiast can know it. Would anyone like to take a guess at the first child's name - Susanne ? It also took a while to work out her brother William's profession but after some scanning around it became obvious he was a cordwainer. I never knew quite what a cordwainer did before but now I do. What a fascinating etymology. This particular John Howard is my 3x Great-Grandfather.
Until this afternoon I also didn't realise you could open pdf files in Photoshop and convert portions of the document into graphics images. Could be handy.