I love the interplay of family relationships in family trees. I am sure we are all accustomed to the principle of what a simple family tree looks like. It is linear in it’s appearance and the principle of it is very straightforward. We begin with ourselves and progress in a straight line backwards in time branching out to the next generation.
Example of a simple family tree
However, in reality family trees are rarely this simple. People have multiple marriages, have children to different partners, cousins marry cousins and with all of that, those very linear looking branches suddenly look not quite so linear. In fact they can become very convoluted and for me that is where family history becomes really interesting. I love to see and try to get to grips with the intertwining of those branches and discover where connections between different sides of my tree are made and I find the complexity of relationships really fascinating in the unravelling. I have lots of examples of this in my tree but am posting today about the one I discovered just this week and I stumbled across this one quite by accident whilst going over some family lines to try and fill in some gaps on family members I hadn’t been able to find much on to date.
Ruth Norton was one of those people I was doing a review on. She was my 3rd Great Aunt, daughter to 3rd Great Grandparents Wright Norton and Sarah Marshall. She was the youngest of 5 children and I had successfully researched all of her siblings, tracing them right through to their deaths but so far I only had a picture in my mind of Ruth up to the age of 19 when she married and then I had lost all trail of her and couldn’t find out what had happened to her after her marriage and so what started out as a day of trying to find out what happened to her I discovered a whole lot more than I bargained for.
This post has been inspired by some reading I was engaged in this week. Whilst browsing through a social media site I was directed to a really interesting article; if somewhat very sad, about the plight of many British Home Children in Canada. British Home Children is the term used to describe children that were part of an immigration programme that began in the late 1860s and continued right up until 1948. It was a scheme designed with the intention of dealing with an ever growing problem of children being abandoned or separated from their families as parents sought work. Workhouses were becoming overcrowded and so the idea of sending children to Canada to be fostered out by families there was born. The intention was that children would be sent out under contract to farming families where they would be clothed, fed and educated in return for a small fee to recompense the families for fostering these children. The scheme was marketed as being much better for the children than the squalid conditions of living on the streets or in workhouses in built-up city areas. Children would be safe, healthy, enjoy fresh clean country air, good food and opportunity. History has since revealed that the reality was all too different. The scheme was poorly managed and monitored meaning that for the most part children were not orphaned and picked up off the streets as thought but came from intact families who had fallen on hard times through one circumstance or another resulting in children going into what was supposed to be temporary care to then being shipped out and separated from their families permanently and abandoned in a foreign country to a life that was far worse from the one they had come from. The original article that inspired my thoughts and gives an insight on the experiences of many can be read here.
Happy Birthday to my Great Aunt Mary Elizabeth Monaghan nee Batters born #onthisday 100 years ago. She worked in the Textile Mills and married during World War II to Jack Monaghan. She was one of twelve children born to Great Grandparents Walter Batters and Martha Elizabeth Ellis, four of whom died in infancy. She died far too young in 1958, aged only 40 leaving 4 young children behind – thoughts are with you and your family today. I never knew her in life but love my Batters Family History of which she is a part.
Been a busy few weeks working on a large-scale project but had to write about the discovery of the week that came about really because of a dream I had a while back. Some branches of my tree seem to come so easily that it feels at times as if ancestors are throwing themselves at me whilst there are some lines that seem to grind to a halt and you can’t seem to get any further on them despite searching every possible avenue. I have a few brick walls in my tree that have proven to be very difficult but can testify that time and long-suffering and widening searches can be fruitful and pay dividends if you have the patience for it.
Today I am writing about my Great Great Grandfather on my father’s side of the family. His name was James Thorpe and for many many years all we had known about him had come from my mother’s research and our knowledge of him consisted of his life after marriage to my Great Great Grandmother Eliza or Elizabeth Powderley. Information about him prior to marriage was limited to the information contained on his marriage record and search after search had proven inconclusive. However, prompted by a post I made on my social media sites to mark the 160th year of Eliza Powderley’s birth and by an idea that had come about through a dream about James Thorpe I decided this week to look again at James to see if I could make any sense of my theory about him and find any answers as to why I was struggling to discover anything more about him. Continue reading →
For me family is everything. The most important people in the world are the ones immediately akin to you and you should “do or die” for them. That is the strength of feeling I have about my family and that attitude has given rise to some incredible family moments over the years that have reinforced these feelings even more. We are very close as a family it is fair to say. Very recently I had a birthday and received a most thoughtful gift from one of my brothers that shouted of the bond we share as a family and made me feel most special. That gift was a piece of paper hidden within a birthday card! Not any old bit of paper – this paper was special and made so by what was on it and what follows is an account of what came about as a result of receiving that bit of paper.
One of my most heavily researched lines in my family tree is that of the Brumby Family. The Brumby’s are prolific and branches of the family can be traced globally and my research has taken me 6th and 7th cousins deep along that line. My Great Great Grandmother was a Brumby – Annie Brumby (1862-1925) and I never expected when I first began researching the Brumby line, the information I would find or the people I would meet along the way but I have become acquainted with many cousins who have assisted my research and shared their stories and the Brumby line has become a study all on it’s own full of trailblazers and pioneers who took the Brumby’s to America, Canada and Australia and remains easily the line I receive the most emails and questions about.
In the middle of all these Brumby’s is the story of one particular lady who married into the Brumby family and captured my attention because of the great burdens she bore upon her shoulders. Her story is not an uncommon one but stands out to me because of the sheer magnitude of loss and pain I feel this lady endured during her lifetime. I feel for her and when I looked into her story my heart bled for her and I wanted everyone to know and understand her bravery and courage. Her name is Leah Brumby. Continue reading →
Today sees me with a bit of spare time and I wanted to take advantage of that and do some catch-up work in the shape of this post and so I am writing today about the last of my Aunts to have passed away whom I have not yet shared anything about – my auntie Pat.
I am finally getting back to writing after a spell away. I haven’t physically been anywhere but after the death of my Uncle it took a while to feel like writing again and I have been incredibly busy besides – always with family history! My ancestors keep me very busy!
When considering what should be my first writing venture back after such a while I re-read some of my former posts and felt that I should write more about family members who are near whom I haven’t yet written about before the opportunity is lost and memories are dim so today I am taking the chance to tell you just some of my memories of a beautiful Aunt – Irene Edwards.
So this week brought about a very unexpected and shock departure of a much loved family member but that brought the opportunity to write to my door again. To write so soon after someone’s passing is a difficult thing but cathartic too allowing me to concentrate my thoughts on the extraordinary life of a unique individual who was so special and who will forever sit so close to my heart.
The stories I have written so far are about closer family members that are known to my living family so the stories were also already known to them but my journey into my past has led me to characters previously not known to myself nor to my living family and so there are many fascinating stories that I have discovered that have gone unreported to my entire family. Some of those stories are deeply embedded within me because of the effort it took to unravel the detail but they would remain nothing more than a memory of mine unless I told the story and passed it on to those who are living. My family history is largely left to me to do and document as everyone alive knows my interest in it and they are happy to leave me to it, only on occasion contacting me to ask about some detail or another that they are interested in, but otherwise, the things I discover will remain undiscovered unless someone delves into the things I have documented. Some stories more than others though deserve to be told and deserve to be heard. Continue reading →