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Messages: 1 - 46 of 46
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    Some of us have been chatting about "Skeletons in the Closet" and thought we'd like to share our stories - so here goes with one from my files (I'll have to post it in several sections)......

    Uncle James and his family.
    ????? We’d never heard of Uncle James!

    This is the story of “Uncle James” and his family. I guess I have to say that it begins with my grandmother Kitty. Kitty always talked about her family back in the little English village from where she had migrated to Australia. We heard endless stories about various Uncles, Aunties and Cousins. There was Auntie Mary Hannah, who went to America, along with Aunt Lizzie and some others. We heard about Uncle Cecil and Aunt Amy, Cousin Flo who went to Perth, Uncle Charlie and Aunt Nell, and the list could go on and on. But never a word passed her lips to any of her family about Uncle James!

    the story of “Uncle James” and his family. I guess I have to say that it begins with my grandmother Kitty. Kitty always talked about her family back in the little English village from where she had migrated to Australia. We heard endless stories about various Uncles, Aunties and Cousins. There was Auntie Mary Hannah, who went to America, along with Aunt Lizzie and some others. We heard about Uncle Cecil and Aunt Amy, Cousin Flo who went to Perth, Uncle Charlie and Aunt Nell, and the list could go on and on. But never a word passed her lips to any of her family about Uncle James!

    Then it was discovered that in September 1884 banns were called in the Parish Church between Sarah CHURCH, spinster, of this parish, to James NUNLEY, bachelor, of this parish. However, The entry was crossed out. But on October 20th 1884 a Sarah Jane CHURCH, aged 35 years, was baptised. Eight days later came the sad entry that she was buried. Poor Uncle James had lost the woman who was to become his wife.

    Does the story seem to be nothing unusual? Well, wait till it unravels a little further..........

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    We were actually trying to trace a James NUNLEY whose father was also a James NUNLEY. So to the 1891 Census we went, and there was Uncle James NUNLEY listed with the boys Thomas, aged 13, and Walter, aged 11, living with him. This time the boys were listed as NUNLEYS and given as James’ sons! The boy James seemed to have disappeared – he didn’t turn up under YERRELL or NUNLEY. But it began to seem that the N in the names of the boys in the 1881 Census could stand for NUNLEY.

    Time to try for a couple of certificates – no children registered as YERRELL, but there was a James NUNLEY registered as being born in a large town some distance away, with his father given as James NUNLEY, a shoemaker, - and Uncle James was a shoemaker - and his mother as Sarah NUNLEY, formerly YARROLD! There was also a Walter NUNLEY registered as Walter Church NUNLEY, born in the village, father not given, mother Sarah CHURCH.

    So did Uncle James NUNLEY have two children by different women? Consideration was given to getting the birth certificate for Thomas N. YERRELL, but instead interest turned to the mothers Sarah YERRELL and Sarah CHURCH. (Thomas has since turned up as Thomas N. CHURCH.) Lots more digging in Parish Records and Censuses led to proof that Sarah Jane YERRELL and Sarah Jane CHURCH were what we suspected - the same woman. Sarah was baptised Sarah Jane CHURCH, illegitimate daughter of Jane CHURCH, who later married a George YERRELL. So it seems that Sarah Jane used both names CHURCH and YERELL, depending on which suited her at the time!

    So now a search of the 1891 census found the younger James YERRELL/NUNLEY as James CHURCH as a boarder in the same town in which he was born.

    Things were getting complicated…….

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    Next to the 1901 Census – and father James NUNLEY is listed living with his daughter Ada FREEMAN and his son in law Frederick FREEMAN. The Parish Records have Ada NUNLEY CHURCH aged 19 marrying Frederick FREEMAN in 1900. It does not have Ada’s father named in the record - just the word illegitimate! So it seems as though there was yet another child born after the 1881 Census but before housekeeper Sarah YERRELL/CHURCH passed away in 1884. Indeed, descendants of both Walter and Ada verify that they were brother and sister.

    Keep reading, - there is more!

    Walter always spoke of a little sister who died very young - her name was Sarah SPARKS! Parish records showed a Sarah Hannah NUNLEY SPARKS buried aged 1 year on 20th April 1889. More digging in the records showed that Sarah Hannah Nunley SPARKS was born to a woman named Hannah SPARKS, a widow. Parish records revealed that Hannah CHAMBERS had married George SPARKS in June 1885 – but he died in October 1885!!! More digging found that in the 1881 Census Hannah CHAMBERS, a single woman, is listed with SEVEN illegitimate children, and a boarder, George SPARKS! Only one of the children was named SPARKS; the other 6 being CHAMBERS. A look back at 1871 showed Hannah as a single woman with two young children living with widower John BRAWN and his two adult sons!

    So it seems that Uncle James NUNLEY had been seeking his pleasure with a certain lady of poor reputation in the village. And they had another child - William NUNLEY was baptised in August 1890, illegitimate son of Hannah SPARKS, widow, nee CHAMBERS.

    The story doesn’t end yet........

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    The son James, James NUNLEY CHURCH, teamed up with one of the illegitimate daughters of Hannah CHAMBERS. Her name was Rose Brawn CHAMBERS on her baptism record. They had a number of children, listed as NUNLEYS on the 1901 Census. But no marriage has yet been found for James and Rose, and Rose’s burial entry in the Parish Records reads
    “11 Sept 1939 Rose BRAWN or BRAWN CHAMBERS (otherwise NUNLEY) buried, aged 64.”

    So it seems like father like son, the children of Rose BRAWN and James YERRELL/CHURCH/NUNLEY were all born illegitimate too!!!!

    And I shall continue.......

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    A variety of records such as Censuses, birth, death and marriage certificates, and Parish Records, show that Walter and James gave their names as either CHURCH or NUNLEY. It seemed to depend on how they were feeling on the day!!!! And the custom continued with one of James and Rose’s sons, another James.

    I have to say thank goodness for whatever led to the children all having the name NUNLEY included as part of their name – otherwise I don’t think we would ever have sorted this out. Researching can be an absolute maze of twists and turns!!!!!

    And you see, there was a skeleton in grandmother Kitty’s closet, and she never opened the door to let it see light of day! She would be horrified if she knew we had done so now. ......dee smiley - erm

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Grumpyjaywit (U2986749) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    Dee you know what Biggles always says 'he is descended from a long line of bachelors' smiley - laugh

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  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Sunday, 11th March 2007

    smiley - yikes I have no idea how the first section of this story ended up with a "repeat" paragraph in it - I checked the original and that is OK. Apologies everyone. smiley - blush

    Hope some others will share about skeletons from their closets! smiley - laugh .....dee

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    Oh dear - something went very wrong with that story - in the first message the copy and paste went horribly wrong. After the first paragraph of Uncle James' story, instead of being repeated, it should have read.....

    Uncle James Nunley turned up early in my research into the Nunley family. He was listed in the 1851, 1861, and 1871 Censuses living with his parents Thomas and Sarah Ann and siblings. But come 1881 he is listed as living with a Housekeeper, and her 3 sons. The housekeeper is listed as Sarah Jane FENELL by the Latter Day Saints transcribers, but finally found as Sarah Jane YERELL by two other people who found her in the original documents. The children are listed as James N. YERELL, aged 7, Thomas N. YERELL, aged 3, and Walter N. YERELL, aged 1.

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  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by meandhim (U3101036) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    I fully understand Dee how your got in a muddlesmiley - laugh smiley - laugh
    He sure would get on with Eliza and Lydia smiley - laugh smiley - laughOH and must`nt miss out her Mum also called Lydia smiley - laugh smiley - laugh
    She made out she married Lydia`s father but that was a PORKIE smiley - laugh

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  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    All I had was Mother's word that I would have trouble with the woman as Eliza Ann (Gran Harriet’s mother) was weird. She was married twice and there was something about an Irish Guardsman.

    Well, the Irish Guards had not happened by the time Eliza Ann came on the scene, but by all the laws of nature, she was right when she said the woman was weird.

    I traced her back from her second wedding which I knew was true. When I found her name was Smith I thought I had a problem, but no, her birth was easy to find. The problems were yet to come.

    Eliza Ann Smith, born 1840 on February 26th , High Court, High Street, Southsea, father Thomas Richard Smith, labourer, mother Mary Ann Smith formerly Bayles.

    Now this was a family with itchy feet. I followed them through life as they toured the area. 1841 saw them at Silver Street, Portsea. 1851 Blenheim Street, Portsea.

    In 1858 Eliza married Henry Moore, carpenter and joiner, of Kettering Terrace, his father was Henry Moore, carpenter, Eliza’s address is Chandos Street. Both claim to be of ‘full age.’ we know for a start that Eliza was only eighteen, and here the famous Eliza Ann porkies begin.

    1860 and on Jun 15th Eliza has a little boy called George Edward, her address is Cottage Lane, Southsea, she has gone back to her parents. The father is named as Henry Edward Moore, Corporal in the 1st Royals.

    1861 and the census finds the family still at Cottage Lane. Henry is nowhere in sight, but suddenly Eliza is down as ‘soldier’s wife (private) ) Demoted? Or what?

    She had little George with her, but he died June 20th 1862 at what looks like 48 Hampton Street, Landport.

    In October of that year, Eliza has her second son, Walter George Harmsworth Moore, the address 30 York Street. This lad has no father. Notch number one on Eliza’s bedpost!

    1864 Craswell Street, Landport, on May 21st Eliza Ellen Harmsworth Moore comes into the world. She is registered by someone who claims to be her father, who goes by the name of William Walter Harmsworth Moore, plasterer journeyman. (One gets terribly suspicious at this point.)

    Then things started to get difficult.

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  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    Gran Harriet Charlotte should have been next, but there were no Harriet Charlottes to be found. I spent pounds going through the records, thinking perhaps she wasn’t on the FreeBMD yet.

    There were several Harriet Moores. I ploughed through them, one by one. Luckily one of the unwanted ones belonged to a girl in Hampshire. I sent it to her, and in return she did some census ferreting, and turned up what I had been unable to find…and how she made the connection I shall never know….

    1871 census for 3 Union Terrace, Reading, William Challis, plasterer, from Winchester, with Eliza, wife, and children, Walter, Elenor, Harriet and little Emily.

    Well, we knew she came to Reading, but not when.

    But now we had the fact that she was there in 1871, and had increased the family by Gran Harriet and little Emily.

    However, the Challis unit didn’t last. Some time soon after William Challis was away to Nottingham with a gal called Betsy, busily producing children. We can find no wedding certificates for him, and birth registrations for the kids. But then…were they registered as his kids…apparently not although they had his name later, so probably they were registered as hers, and we have no clue as to who the poor woman was.

    So who was Gran Harriet’s father, and when was she born? I was baffled. Notches on bedposts tell no tales, but they had reckoned without the ‘M Team.’

    In way over my head, and my friend in Hampshire run out of ideas, I joined the Messageboard, and more pieces fell into place.

    Marymog latched onto the story, and to this day I shall never know how, she found a man called Callas William Webb, plasterer, from Winchester. Stalking him through the census returns it's pretty sure that he is the guilty party, especially when, after months of trying and MORE duff birth certs, we finally found little Emily…

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  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    1867 (unreadable) Square, READING, and Emily Webb is born to Eliza Webb, formerly Smith, and William Webb, plasterer journeyman. It took a long time to find this one for obvious reasons.

    So in 1867 they were in Reading and calling themselves Webb…remember by the 1871 census they are Challis. But what ever happens there is the one clue with the man, when all else changes, he is still a plasterer, though I perhaps he took the term ‘journeyman’ a bit too literally.

    There was a Harriet Webb Moore in the records. That had to be Gran Harriet. It was just a matter of sending for the certificate and finding out.

    The birth certificate arrived, and wouldn’t you know it…

    1866, 35 Stone St Landport, Harriet Webb Moore, NO FATHER, X mark of Eliza Moore, mother,

    But as the previous child was registered by ‘the plasterer’ what ever name he is using at the time, and the next child is fully acknowledged as a Webb, it’s pretty obvious who the guilty party is.

    Then a thought strikes…Gran Harriet Webb Moore born in Landport, 1866, little Emily Webb born in Reading in 1867...

    I have a mint plant, that has been handed down in sprigs from Gran Harriet to my Mum, to me, to be taken, even up to Scotland and back down again. Mum always called it Isle of Wight mint, because, Gran told her it came from the Isle of Wight.

    Always laughed at that, but the Hampshire connection makes it possible. One of the houses Eliza was living in when she had one of the kiddies was owned by a couple…from the Isle of Wight.

    So we get a picture of one dark night, the callous Callus William Webb (or what ever he was calling himself at the time) with Eliza Ann, baby in her arms, another one on the way, and a couple more kids following, doing a runner from Portsea to Reading, someone clutching a sprig of the Isle of Wight Mint, because a girl knows a good thing when she is on to it, and pursued by…perhaps Betsy’s dad with a shotgun?

    It’s a thought.

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  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    All too soon the callous what ever his name was at the time (he is registered Callus William Webb in 1838, got his birth cert now,) is gone.

    On the 6th of May 1874, the children are all christened together at Saint Giles Church, Reading. Walter William Moore, Eliza Ann Moore, Harriet Charlotte Moore and little Emily Louisa Moore, who by this time is only 7 years old and must have been a really mixed up kid. The mother is Eliza Ann Moore and the named father for all the children, Henry Moore, but there are subtle changes to some of the names. Emily is now Emily Louise, Harriet is Harriet Charlotte. All these names are from the Webb family. Harriet is the name of his sister and his grandmother, Charlotte the name of his mother. Eliza was putting it on the records, without putting it on the records.

    In 1879 sanity gets a grip on the family. Along comes Samuel Wicks, several years younger than Eliza, but who cares in this story? Mother knew him. ‘Sam was all right,’ she would say, and I think he must have been.

    1879 the 15th of September, Samuel Wicks, labourer, father George Wicks, labourer, married Eliza Ann Moore, widow, father Thomas Smith, Inspector of Nuisances. One of the witnesses is Walter Wm Moore, Eliza’s son.

    True to tradition, by the 1881 census the family have moved again, this time they are in Mill Lane. I must have walked past that place every day on my way to work and not known it.

    All of them are together, Sam, Eliza, Walter, young Eliza, Harriet and Emily.

    In 1885 Walter married Louise Baker, and in 1886 young Eliza married John Hughes. I have yet to find little Emily…after all, what name do you look for? Webb? Challis? Moore?

    The 1891 and 1901 census returns show Sam and Eliza alone. Both Harriet and Emily have left home.

    I found Harriet. She was in BASINGSTOKE, calling herself Harriet Mathias, with William Stephens Mathias and a couple of kids. I searched desperately for a wedding certificate. Mother remembered their silver wedding party. No, I thought, it must be golden wedding.

    1901 and they were back in Reading for the census. Mother is not on the records, but it must have been close run thing.

    In 1906, on the 25th of January, the star of the show, Eliza Ann Smith/Moore/Webb/Challis/Wicks whatever, died of cancer, still with Sam and I feel loved at last.

    And what about Gran Harriet and her William? Well, Mother was right, it was a silver wedding. They married just after Eliza Ann died, and after having seven children.

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  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    So it should be a happy ending. But this is the Eliza Ann story, and there are only surprises, not happy endings.

    On their wedding certificates Walter and young Eliza both name Henry Moore, carpenter (deceased) as their father.

    Gran Harriet has to muddy the waters.

    Harriet Moore, father GEORGE Moore, soldier…

    All I can think of is that Walter and young Eliza had seen the wedding certificate for their mother Eliza Ann and Henry Moore, carpenter and joiner, and it was then lost. Gran Harriet might have seen the death certificate for baby George. If for some reason, (damage or, don’t we all know about it, bad writing) she was unable to read it properly, we could have the answer.

    George Moore, age 2, (under Occupation) Son of Henry Moore a Private 1st Royals, Scarlitina, X the mark of Eliza Moore, present at death. 20th June 1862.

    All it needs is to blank out some bits….George Moore…Occupation Private 1st Royals…Scarlitina…X the mark of Eliza Moore, present at death, 20th June 18.…

    It has been a classic case of lies, more lies and confusions, and dogged determination on the part of certain people who would not let the truth lie hidden, and not one of them a professional researcher.

    It’s been a great adventure! Thanks to everyone who took part. I couldn't have made it without you.

    the end
    (or is it?)

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  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by madammagician (U3114391) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    These really are gripping tales !smiley - laugh fact is often more interesting than fiction,you really could`nt make this up!smiley - laugh i have one section of my Wisker family in 1841 that are hard to sort out?

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    Hi everyone

    I've been mainly lurking recently but here is my skeleton!!

    My dear Grandmother Rhoda told the tale of growing up in a Catholic Orphanage in Sheffield (which I have yet to find). She had no family of her own and always told her own 9 children that they should never forget each other. Her full name was Rhoda Thomas Nicholson and this is how her story went.....

    Her mother and father came over from Ireland when they were unmarried and her mother was pregnant, her father then ran away!! Her mother then married Mr Nicholson and he drowned at sea still before my gran was born. On 14th July 1914 my gran was born along with a twin brother Thomas who died (hence her middle name). She never gave a reason as to why she went to the orphange but said that she was about 6 when she went and her mother died when she was about 16.

    My dad remembers his *Grandma Peason* in Sheffield whom my grandma always refered to as her adoptive family - we believe this is the family whom took her in when she left the orphange and also possibly for weekends/holidays whilst she still resided there.

    We always knew that because of her harsh upbringing by the nuns that she was prone to exageration but how much she actually knew of the truth we are unsure.

    To follow is what we have discovered so far smiley - smiley

    to be continued........

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  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    *Where the heck did Ireland come from*

    Rhoda's birth certificate states her mother is Sarah Rosa Naomi Nicholson formally Osburn and father is Henry Thomas!! She is born in Hull.

    Her parents are obviously not married and the lack of a twin (searched for) reveals the real reason for Thomas as her middle name!

    As Sarah Rosa Naomi and Henry never married and his *declaration* on Rhoda's BC are the only places his name is ever seen then who knows who he is and where he came from - maybe he was Irish!!

    Sarah Rosa Naomi however was most certainly not!! She came from a long line of family in Hull and as you will see even whilst comitting all her *misdeameanours* she never left the city!!

    Sarah Rosa Naomi Osburn was born on 31st December 1880 to William Osburn (Tug Boat Captain) and Rose Osburn.

    She is easily found on all censii (well, other than the 1901 - thanks kanscar smiley - smiley) with her family and all seems well!!

    In 1905 she marries one Charles Nicholson in Hull!!

    I had such a hard time figuring out why my Grandma was born 9 years after her mothers marriage to a man who wasnt her father and who's death I couldn't trace!! Or how Rhoda managed to be an only child after a previous union!!

    More to follow........

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    *An amazing discovery*

    One day back in Oct 2006 I received an email through Ancestry from a fellow saying he was also tracing my elusive SRN - I was shocked to say the least but this is what transpired....

    In 1906 SRN gave birth to twin girls, Edith Ethel and Lucy May Nicholson - Edith did not survive (remember that story!!)

    c1908 SRN gives birth to George Nicholson.

    In 1910 SRN gives birth to Elsie Nicholson.

    My email buddy is the Son-in-Law of the late Lucy May.

    smiley - yikes this was me!!

    SRN abandoned this family c1910 smiley - sadface

    They were brought up by various family members but all stayed close and in touch.

    We are then left with WHY, and WHERE did SRN go - what was she up to between leaving the Nicholson Children and having my Grandma - what were the circumstances to my Grandma being in the home if she did't die?

    Charles Nicholson died at the end of WWI - there is no mention of SRN on his CWCG entry!!

    A little more to follow.....

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 18.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    *What is with this woman*

    We had a wonderful reunion with the Nicholson's children (Real life first cousins for my dad smiley - winkeye) and one member was certain that this wouldnt be the last chapter in SRN's story!!

    Having many a head-spinning moment on my trail for SRN I found the following and sent for the cert as a long shot....

    1915, Hull, Naomi Nicholson marries Burton Lamb

    Well - you've guessed it - its only her!! BIGAMOUSLY marrying and probably accounting for Rhoda not being brought up my her mum but where is she till c1920 when she went to Sheffield.

    This roused our suspissions but I need to find the home and a vain hope that some records survived to prove it futher:

    Rose Osburn (Rhoda's Gran) died in 1920!!!

    We think that grandma brough her up whilst SRN gallavanted off with her new (illegal) hubby!!

    Did she have more children?
    When did she die?
    What ELSE did she get up to?

    These are still MANY of the questions that we dont have answers!! Although, we know SO much more than we did 12 months ago!!

    Sad for Rhoda - but I fascinating!!

    Thanks for listening to me ramble
    Jo smiley - smiley

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by meandhim (U3101036) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    Thank-you Jo for sharing it with us
    We call learn from each other how to unravel family mysteries
    ME smiley - rose

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    What a story.
    What a thread!
    You're saying 'what else did she get up to?' Jo
    She didn't change her name to Betsy and leg it with CW Webb, did she...smiley - laugh

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Bashfulblossom (U2992587) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    This thread is fascinating. I would think there will be a lot more added to it bit by bit. Thanks for sharing the stories.smiley - rose

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Tallys (U4809415) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    Some wonderful stories thanks for sharing them with us. Do you kow why unmarried ladies were called spinsters. They used to spend their time before they married spinning cloth for their trousseau. How times change!

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Monday, 12th March 2007

    You know what Paula, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest smiley - winkeye


    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by DinkyDidy (U6187593) on Tuesday, 13th March 2007

    Fascinating stories, and excellent examples of the persistence and ingenious thinking needed by researchers trying to unravel the twisted threads. My short offering has a bit of a sting in the tail.

    My late mother, Audrey, was born in a city home for unmarried mothers, and raised in a foster home by an unrelated older couple with a grown family of their own. She never felt a "real" member of the family, and they never gave her their family name. This was fortunate because, at a time when formal adoption had not yet been legalized here, informal complete name-changes often meant the real name was never able to be traced. Mum's birth certificate showed that her birth mother was called Beatrice, and that she came from a country town a couple of hundred miles from the city.

    Mum had some hazy early memories, one scary impression of someone submerging her in a bath, which to her seemed like a drowning attempt, and one of living in an orphanage which we thought we were able to identify.

    Enquiries at that orphanage and others proved blank, but eventually the church which ran the unmarried mothers' home, after Mum's death and much screening of my relationship etc, provided brief records showing that Mum and Beatrice had returned to the country town, but that both were back at the home two years later when Beatrice gave birth to another daughter Hazel my mother never knew about. Unfortunately Hazel died shortly after birth, but Beatrice and Audrey remained at the home for at least another year, possibly in separate quarters.

    Mum had no memory of being with her mother at the home, although she would have been about three or four when she was probably taken by the foster family. There are no surviving records of the fostering process, nor school records.

    Beatrice, who changed her own name some time after this to Phyllis, died at a relatively young age, having married but never having other children until she adopted a daughter, who was only seven when Phyllis died.

    Fast forward a few years, and my daughter was trying to contact descendants from the first marriage of Beatrice's mother. Randomly phoning people of that name, she found a very elderly lady who had been a close friend of Beatrice/Phyllis at the relevant time. The lady, who was quite lucid and chatty, agreed to meet with my daughter, who said she would ring back when she had arranged a time with me. When she called back a short time later, the lady's daughter answered the phone and very coldly said that they were placing the lady in a home, that she wouldn't know what she was talking about anyway, and the family didn't want her bothered by strangers! If only my daughter had asked about Beatrice's relationships in her first contact - but she didn't want to be too pushy....

    That's one whole line where the brick wall will probably remain.smiley - sadface


    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 25.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Tuesday, 13th March 2007

    Oh No Didy smiley - steam

    The kind old dear sounds like she was ready to spill all the beans until she was stopped in her tracks!

    On a side note, did you always know the home where your mum was or did you have to track it down? This is part of my brick wall at the moment of not knowing which home or where really to start!!

    smiley - smiley

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 26.

    Posted by DinkyDidy (U6187593) on Tuesday, 13th March 2007

    Fortunately, the home was named on her birth certificate, and it was the same one they went back to. I was very lucky that it still exists, and that the first time I rang them, a kind person looked at their records and gave me some of the information. Next time I rang, all their records had been moved to a central archive. If I hadn't had the first confirmation that there was something there, I could have been discouraged. This church have destroyed all their early school records, for example.

    Good luck with your hunt.


    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Tuesday, 13th March 2007

    A perfect example I think of some you win......
    smiley - laugh

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by DinkyDidy (U6187593) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

    Another skeleton found in a related-by-marriage line. I can't believe this was legal, even back then, and even though they were not blood relatives!

    In 1868 the dastardly Artemus Appleton (LOVE the name!) married widow Henriette Graeber, who had 5 young children, the eldest 12 year old Marie Louise. They had 4 more children before Henriette died in March 1874.

    In November 1874 Artemus married his 18 year old step-daughter and had 11 more children. smiley - devil

    Poor Marie Louise would have had to care for her 8 young brothers and sisters, and then 11 children of her own! I think this closet was slightly over-crowded. smiley - yikes

    Report message29

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 29.

    Posted by Aussie Barmaid (U5591067) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

    smiley - yikes Didy - it surely was! Poor girl....I really feel for her. .....dee

    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 29.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

    Oh my GOSH Didy

    I'll bet that is one skeleton that they tried their hardest to keep IN the closet smiley - winkeye


    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

    If you used it as the plot of a book they would say it was too far fetched.
    Shows, fact most certainly IS stranger than fiction.

    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by DinkyDidy (U6187593) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

    Who needs fiction when you've got family history! smiley - laugh smiley - laugh smiley - laugh

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by jack29p (U1877186) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

    Not such an epic struggle to find out the truth as the ones above which are Brilliant smiley - biggrin but my dasterdly Benjamin is the biggest Skeleton I have at the moment....

    Benjamin Howlett was born in 1839. He had a penchant for housekeepers. In 1861 living close by is a young lady of similar age by the name of Lydia Louisa Waters, together with her parents. They were not originally from the area.

    By 1866 she had given birth to Benjamin jnr and by 1871 is living with Benjamin snr,jnr and a daughter Lydia. Benjamin seems to want to call his "wife" Louisa just to confuse things. Both children plus Louisa ( which I will call her to avoid confusion) still retain the surname Walters and indeed Louisa is referred to as Housekeeper.

    Alas in 1874 Louisa dies of Typhoid Fever. So what happened to the children???

    On to the 81 Census. Benjamin snr has gone back to his Mum taking his son to whom he has now given his surname. Wheres little Lydia? In the Workhouse smiley - yikes still under the name Waters and aged 12.

    Now Louisa's family had returned to their home roots some 200 miles away and one must wonder if they knew that their grandchild was in the workhouse or not. Or whether they were just told that she had died like her mother.

    On to the 91 Census. Little Lydia has got a job working as a childrens maid in a Rectory in another county but alas things dont go well for her and she dies the following year of Anaemia

    Benjamin jnr has married and started his own family and guess what old Benjamin Snr has got a new Housekeeper Susannah Calthorpe and she gives birth to 2 further children in 1891 and 1896 when Benjamin Snr is 56 smiley - yikes. He sticks true to form and doesnt marry her nor does he give them his surname.

    Poor Benjamin jnr it must have been an awful experience in those days to have 2 younger stepbrothers when his father hadnt married the lady yet again and at the same time as trying to bring up his own family.

    1901 comes and Susannah and the 2 children have gone or rather there is a bit of poetic justice in the air. smiley - biggrin Benjamin snr is now in the same Workhouse he confined little Lydia to some 20 years before where he dies in 1906 but with son Benjamin at his side.

    Maybe blood is thicker than water

    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by tigtag02 (U3701697) on Friday, 16th March 2007

    Another great story Jack - I agree with Didy that these are better than any fiction book.

    Jo smiley - smiley

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 35.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Sunday, 30th September 2007

    Thought I'd dig this one up so that the newbies can see the battles some of us have had, and have a good laugh with us along the way.smiley - ok

    Report message36

  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 36.

    Posted by suffolkboyswife (U3002116) on Sunday, 30th September 2007

    It was good reading these stories again.

    I'm still struggling with one of mine which has perplexed me since i started family tree research about 3 years ago now.

    I cannot find my gt grandma's birth index anywhere.

    Her parents married in 1872 and had a daughter in 1873 there is then a 9 year gap until my gt grandma should have been born but I can't find any trace of a birth being registered. Then every 2 years or so 3 more children are born and I have found their birth reg but not my gt grandma. It is really frustrating me and I'd love to know what has happened. I have to assume that they lost several babies between 1873 and 1882 when my gt grandma was born which is why there is a large age gap.

    Report message37

  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by dee2happy (U7787230) on Sunday, 30th September 2007

    Absolutely fascinating, thank you for sharing!!

    Also, points out the biggest lie ever told and still repeated to this day - "Never would have happened in my day" smiley - laugh

    Report message38

  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by IgorStrav (U1775018) on Monday, 1st October 2007


    Have you tried searching in the rough location at the rough time just for the first names of your great grandma?

    She couldn't have been registered under another surname for a reason which we purer than pure souls couldn't possible guess at, could she?

    I had a very good indication of my great grandmother's birthdate and place of birth - a note made by her husband - but could not turn up the reference at all, although all the siblings seemed to have been registered OK.

    Then someone here simply did a search for the first names and she was registered under a completely other surname. Not mother's maiden name - she was actually married to someone else at the time, I'd got the marriage date wrong.

    Just a thought.............smiley - biggrin

    Report message39

  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by jc (U1902680) on Monday, 1st October 2007

    Why don't you start a new thread with your grandma's name, parents names and date of marriage and of course location and see if we can find it... I have to admit, my thoughts are going along the same lines as Igor or perphaps, this wasn't mamma's first marriage smiley - winkeye Nine year gap? must be other siblings in there somewhere unless father was in the military or something.

    Report message40

  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 40.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Saturday, 16th August 2008

    Something for the newbies to read while they are waiting....

    Report message41

  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by Iamjillian (U3131691) on Saturday, 16th August 2008

    For Suffolkboyswife.Mesage 37
    I have not seen this thread before- very interesting!
    I thought I might add my experience on missing children. I found Thomas Jones in the censuses living with Father Thomas and Mother Hannah and he even put Thomas as his father on his marriage certificate. In fact he was the illigitamate son of Thomas seniors sister Ann!!

    Report message42

  • Message 43

    , in reply to message 42.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Sunday, 30th August 2009

    Haven't given this one an airing for a while

    Report message43

  • Message 44

    , in reply to message 43.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Wednesday, 30th September 2009

    for roofysmiley - ok

    Report message44

  • Message 45

    , in reply to message 44.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Thursday, 1st October 2009

    After all this time I thought that I should add some more to the Eliza Ann story, as more of her life is still coming to light...

    For a start, the wedding certificate to Henry Moore is lies, more lies and porkies.

    Both are down as being 'full age,' but were born in 1840, which means they were only 18.
    Henry has his father down as Henry Moore, carpenter. He was in fact David Moore, carpenter.

    They were married in June 1858...but in Sept 1858 Eliza has a son, Henry Moore, father Henry Edward Moore, carpenter.
    She didn't keep the little lad long, because by 1861 he is living with grandfather David Moore.

    But the big surprise was the mysterious Frederick R B Smith age 4 years who is with Eliza and her Dad on the 1861 census...
    Now I did think that perhaps as the name was Smith, this boy could be the son of Eliza's brother, Thomas....

    Think again....

    November, 1856
    Frederick Richard Thomas Batchelor Smith, mother Eliza Ann Smith...father-----------

    Seeing that Eliza was born at the end of September 1840...she started young...

    Poor girl, what a life!

    Report message45

  • Message 46

    , in reply to message 45.

    Posted by PaulaG (U3004479) on Thursday, 22nd December 2011

    Bump smiley - smiley

    Report message46

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