Lucy

Address same as Lucy Seward in 1891 census

A brick wall in the family history. One of the very distant cousins had added a 1892 death for Lucy. I’d suggested it couldn’t be the same person as she seemed to have died in 1862, but there wasn’t any proof.

Lucy Stone was born in Folkestone in 1842. She shared her name with the founder of the Lucy Stone League, a campaign for women to keep their own family name after marriage. Family history research would be much easier, although some people include variations in their children’s names.

There was no sign of Lucy Stone on any census after 1851. I had a copy of her marriage certificate from 1861. She gave birth to my grandfather in 1862 before disappearing

My great grandfather was described as widowed in a transcript of the 1871 census. He was a lodger in the house of Amelia Bliss and her daughter Eliza. Some time later, another transcript showed him as married, boarding with landlady Ann Elliss.

In theory, Isaac Daines was still married in 1891, even though he didn’t appear to have married anyone else since 1861. I searched for Lucy, born in 1842, living in the area mentioned in the 1892 death record. The results showed a lady born in Featherstone in Kent. Another strange transcription! I ordered a pdf of her death certificate.

True, but not the truth

Lucy’s death had been registered by her sister Emily, who had also witnessed the 1861 marriage. I had expected the death certificate to show a birth name for identity purposes. There was no mention of the man Lucy had been living with for the previous 20-odd years. Keeping up appearances? This must be confusing for any Seward descendants.

I don’t know anything about Lucy beyond the official facts. People with criminal ancestors have access to photographs and physical descriptions of their elders. Crime might pay, in that respect. Successful criminals weren’t arrested, not that hiding in plain sight is against any laws. She didn’t intend to make the family tree difficult, she lived in the same region for decades. What have I inherited from her?

Sunshine and waves

This morning I was cutting little dots into the lino sea foam while listening to live radio coverage of the Thai cave rescue. News updates while printing said that some of the boys were out of the cave.

I was working in an attic room under an open skylight. The ink was weird in the heat, the paper kept blowing around in the breeze. I had intended to rub a bit of yellow ink into the centre of the sun, like an intaglio. Maybe next time.

Family History

Here’s a link to a photo of my grandfather’s workplace: http://www.chrismansfieldphotos.com/RECORDS-of-WOOLWICH/Royal-Arsenal-/i-j29cVzT/A

When I began researching some family history, there was only one known photograph of my grandfather. He was a bearded figure sitting on the front row of a group of smiling black men. Presumably this picture was taken when he was delivering ammunition (allegedly in south Africa). My Aunt kept the picture at her house, as it was one of the few items to survive the family home’s destruction by a WW2 bomb. My friends’ parents often told me this couldn’t have happened, but then they also thought my Dad couldn’t have grown up on the Isle of Wight (“that’s just a holiday place!”).

Turning the picture over to look for information, I found it had been pasted to a certificate awarded to Blanche Badois for her needlework skills. I wondered who this lady was. My Dad suggested that she could have been his father’s former girlfriend or even a wife. The thought of that upset my Aunt so we weren’t allowed to discuss it further.

My Dad died in 1999, so he missed my 1901 census discoveries. My grandfather was living in Plumstead with his first wife and their three daughters. Not the needlework certificate lady, but another. There are no records for the first Mrs Daines or their daughters after 1901.

Recently, while looking for something else, I found grandfather’s second marriage online. He married Blanche, the needlewoman, in 1905 then she died in 1909. A year later he married my grandmother.

When my Dad was 70, he received another photograph of his father. He sat gazing at it for a long time, being surprised at the likeness to himself. If there were so few relics from the bombed house, I wonder where that photograph had been for so long.

Maybe there are mysterious photographs of the first two weddings in other family albums somewhere(?)