Sunday, 6 February 2011

Family History Writing Challenge - Day 6

I said on Day 3 of this challenge that my Great Grandfather had a sister called Mary Anne.

Mary Anne was born in 1872 in Long Lawford, Warwickshire. I knew from the Census returns that she existed and set about, once I knew the family were in Guildford, of locating her on the census. I did find Mary Anne a border in a house, again in Merrow as a domestic. I had planned to do some extra research on the descendants of Mary Anne, but shelved that at the time temporarily as I was then still seeking the birth place of my Great Great Grandmother that linked into this family and was preoccupied with that.

At that time the Merrow parish records were housed in a super archive in Guildford called the Muniment Room which was attached to the Museum. I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and set about reading various parish records and the school records. I spotted a baptism for a child, Harry Matthews, son of Mary Anne in 1898. I looked for a marriage later than the birth, just in case it was recorded later, and found nothing. I then came across a marriage for Harry in 1925 still in the same parish and the birth of a son, Clive Colin to Harry in 1934. So, where did that leave me? I had a son who married and had his own son. I then looked through the death records for the parish and was sad to find the death of Mary Anne in 1898, the same year as the year that Harry was born. Did Mary Anne ever see her son? Who was the father? If Mary Anne died while Harry was still a baby who looked after him? So many questions, and even as I type this I feel the urge to try once again and unravel the series of events to the demise of Mary Anne and her descendants.

Then in 2009 when in the Stoughton Cemetery at Guildford I spotted the following grave stone.

DSCF0328

The gravestone for the son of Harry. I really did feel overcome with sadness for a man that I had never met, yet we shared some of the same genetics and family. Clive had passed away at the same age I am now and there is nothing like that for a mortality check. I wondered what kind of life he and his father had lead, and more importantly who had brought Harry up. I knew that Mary Anne's brother, My Great Grandfather had not and I could see from research into their sister Edith that she hadn't either. Like most of us, with every bit of genealogy research comes another set of questions, and perhaps there are some things, like the parentage of Harry, we shall never know?

Word count 469

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