A Tale of Two Marriages

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.

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Middlemore Boys

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.

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Happy Birthday Great Aunt Mary

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.

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