Friday, March 30, 2012

current MIMMS research

Looking for another branch of the MIMMS clan to write about today, has led me down the road of finding one that settled in Canada. I'm working on this branch as we speak, so will record findings here. This is Margaret Wilhemina Gertrude MIMMS and John JONES, who emigrated to Canada in 1912 and 1907 respectively. This fact I received from a cousin found online at some point in the past. I've  not been terribly good at recording sources at times, and all I know is that the info came from 'Dennis' (at least I have a name). I can find out more by searching old emails etc, but I REALLY MUST START TO BE MORE ORGANISED!!! (I spent a few hours today looking up old emails, and found all the missing info!)

Anyway, Margaret with the wonderful middle names, was the daughter of Francis George and Mary Selina MABBETT, my great, great uncle and aunt (he being brother to James and John). Like her 9 siblings, Margaret was born in Brighton.


She married John JONES on 23 Dec 1899.
In 1901 they were living in Brighton, with just Cyril, a 10 month old baby.

By 1911 they had 6 children.
The Canadian 1911 Census shows John as a resident of Ottawa, Ontario. It also shows that he emigrated there in 1910.(This is disputed by another cousin who has found a record for 1907).


The 1911 UK Census shows that Margaret and two of her children were at Shorncliffe Camp, Elham, Kent. 
Type
Surname
First Name
Sex
Born
Age
Place
Cnty
MILITARY
JONES
ELLA
F
1905
6
Elham
Kent
MILITARY
JONES
MARGARET
F
1881
30
Elham
Kent
MILITARY
JONES
MARGARET
F
1908
3
Elham
Kent
other people ............. ..................... ... .......... .......... .............. ..........
There were obviously many other people there. It is not known where the other children were based.

Shorncliffe Camp 1916
Shorncliffe Camp, Elham was a military establishment at Elham near Folkestone in Kent, originally built as a Napoleonic earthworks fort, the site, which covers 200 acres, was used as a training camp during the Great War and is still in use by the army today. It looks as though Shorncliffe had strong Canadian links. By 1915, 40,000 Canadians were in training there. The Castle was used as an air-raid shelter and by the Royal Field Artillery.

In 1912, Margaret(aged 34) and 6 of her children emigrated to join husband John in Ottawa, Canada. They sailed from Liverpool to Quebec aboard the Empress of Britain, arriving on 13th Sep. Cyril was 11, Leslie was 9, John was 7, Ella was 6, George was 5 and Peggy was 4.



More children were born in Canada. I know of at least two, Herbert and Tom.

To be continued, am waiting for info to arrive re their Canada life .......



Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Only for Life" by Peter MIMMS my cousin, writer.

How exciting it was, when in 2004 while researching my MIMMS branch of the family tree, I discovered this book. Written by Peter MIMMS son of Albert Thomas and Doris Irene nee JARMAN. Not only is it a very well written history of poverty over 300 years, IT INCLUDES MY FAMILY!!! I already had Peter on my family tree as my 2nd cousin 1x removed.

It follows the story from Gregory MIMMS in 17th century Wellingborough, down through son after son to my James who left the impoverished Midlands in about 1830 to try his luck in London at the time of the  Swing Riots. It traces his story for a while before following the author's branch.

How sad I was to discover, when I tried to contact Peter Mimms, to offer the missing image of James, which was in my possession, that he had died just two years previously, in 2002.

It was Peter Mimms who had travelled to USA to track down the story of John (Henry Winfield) Mimms, who I wrote about on Tuesday.

I discovered, from his widow, who wrote me a very friendly letter, that they has travelled widely researching in Record Offices all over the country. After the book was published, he did a lot of lecturing. He was an excellent speaker with a good voice, and was able to give people a lot of advice.

She also shared with me the way in which Peter ended his lectures, which I shall copy here:

"Let me finish with a biblical quotation (Ecclesiasticus Chapter 44/Apocrypha). It begins
"Let us now praise famous men and our fathers that begat us....."

Perhaps less well known are the lines which follow a few verses on:

"There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.
And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them."
They were my family and this is their memorial. 

(full chapter can be found here


I think that is a lovely summary of the work we family history researchers do. We may not all have a book in us, but every time we share our findings anywhere online, whether it be a family tree, a website, or a blog, we are leaving a memorial to them.

R.I.P. Peter MIMMS
1933-2002

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

John (Henry Winfield) MIMMS

Another day, another MIMMS person from my tree! This one is an interesting character. He was born plain and simple John, no middle names. He was the brother of my James MIMMS, born in 1851 in Southwark St Thomas. He went to Queen Elizabeth's School and St. Bride's Institute, Southwark and then in 1873, emigrated to USA . His naturalization papers date from 2 Sep 1880. He was living in Burlington, Vermont.

On the 1880 census, his occupation is stenographer.

He married Leonora Campbell HUNTINGTON in 1882, in Springfield, Illinois. At this point he decided, for some reason, that plain old John wasn't enough. Whatever the reason, his marriage certificate states 'John Henry Winfield MIMMS'.  (I suspect his nephew John H W MIMMS made him think how much grander it sounded). 

He was Lt. Colonel of the 1st Vermont Infantry in the Spanish American War, commanding the regiment most of the time. He enlisted 2 April 1898, and was discharged 17 Nov 1898.

The 1900 US census shows him as a court reporter.
 
1900-1902  He was Chief of Staff to Governor Stickney for 2 years.

In 1905 he travelled back to England just for a short period. There may well have been a family event.

118, Spruce St, Burlington


A cousin researching this family travelled to USA  and he photographed the house where John and Leonora lived in 1920-1930. I have been unable to find this address on the 1910 or 1920 census. The 1930 census shows them at this address. John's occupation says law ....... .



                           John died on 30 Jul 1930.

John's obituary appeared in the local newspaper.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Albert Matthew MIMMS (publican)

St James, Bermondsey
Albert Matthew MIMMS was the brother of my great grandma Helena who I told you about yesterday. He was the youngest sibling, born in 1882. In 1901 he was listed at his sister's house, as a scavenger. He married Mary Ann MEDCALF on 22 Sep 1907 at St James' Church, Bermondsey.

Mary Ann
By 1911, their only child, Albert George, was 2 and they were living on Lynton Rd, Bermondsey. Albert Matthew was a 28 year old furniture porter.

The next time we saw Albert was in 1921 on the London Electoral Register. He and Mary Ann were living in Camberwell, and they'd moved again to Fulham by 1923, and then in 1925 they were running their first pub, the Barrack Tavern in Woolwich. After one or maybe two years there, they took over the Prince of Orange, 118, Lower Rd, Rotherhithe. They were certainly there by the 1927 Electoral Register.

Unfortunately, the next event I know about in Albert's life is his death on 11 Dec 1933. Luckily for me his nephew was a funeral director, and a wonderful image has survived of Albert's funeral procession.  I recognise three people in the photo below. My grandfather Richard is the pall bearer at the very back of the coffin. Albert George (son) is the man two in front of grandad. My great aunt Lil is the woman you can see through the window of the hearse.


Albert George


I do not have a photo of Albert Matthew MIMMs, only his wife and son. His widow lived until 1958. As late as 1956 she is listed on the Electoral Register at the Prince of Orange. Albert George, their son, lived until 1996.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Helena MIMMS my great grandmother

Helena Alice MIMMS was born on 12th April 1866 to James and Mary Ann MIMMS (née WOOD) at 1 Dockhead Place, Bermondsey. She was the second of nine children. All but one grew to adulthood.  In 1881, she was described as errand girl. She married Joseph WEEDEN in 1888 at Newington.  They had 7 children of whom 5 survived. 




The image below(left) is on a glass plate. The right hand one is an attempt to digitally clean up the damage done over the years. It is of Helena as a young mum with 3 of her children. If the child on the left is her eldest, then they would be from l. to r. Albert, Lil (baby) Richard (my grandad). It dates from 1896.  It's one of the most precious images to come to me from my mum.

Helena had a hard life, made worse by the ill health of Joseph. In 1911, she was head of household with the younger 5 children in Bermondsey. Joseph was in Bermondsey Infirmary.  She lost her daughter Ada to pneumonia and her husband Joseph to T.B. within 2 months of each other in 1923. 

 I have found her on several London Electoral registers right up to 1938, living at 60, Heaton Rd, Camberwell. She would have been 72 then.

1951
In her latter years she lived at each of her children's homes in turns for part of the year. She was a great character. Mum admired her greatly, and loved her to take her turn staying at the Chalet in Downham. It was Helena who told my mum all she knew about the family history that has now been passed on to me.

I can picture her drinking gin in the Rampant Horse Inn in Downham Market. She lived to the ripe old age of 94. She died on 16th May 1960 and is buried with Joseph and Ada at Nunhead.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Joseph WEEDEN my great grandfather

I've presented my family history here a bit haphazardly, unlike my friend Sheila whose blog Ancestral Thoughts is much more logically laid out!  Having spent the last few weeks writing mostly about my Norfolk family, with a slight meander into Lincolnshire for a pub or two, I want to turn back to my London family now. You already know about some of great aunts who were either born in London, or moved there from Norfolk, but I do have a whole branch who seem to be Londoners through and through. These are my maternal father's branch the WEEDENs. This is the branch that I knew least about because although my mum had done some work on them prior to me inheriting the family tree, it was hard due to the records not being readily available to me in Norfolk. But that all changed when I subscribed to Ancestry, and they started adding firstly Parish Registers and then Electoral Registers for London. The cost of subscribing to Ancestry is offset by the cost that certificates would cost me.

So, today I want to tell you a little more about my grandad's family. You already know a bit about my grandad's life from this post. You also know about his three sisters, Ada, Lil, and Flo (albeit through her famous husband), but today I want to tell you about their parents, Joseph WEEDEN and Helena MIMMS.


Joseph was born in Southwark St John on 30 Aug 1863 to Richard and Sarah. He was #7 out of 11 children, out of which only four reached adulthood. Both his father Richard, and his brother, another Richard, were coopers by trade. Joseph also worked for a brewery, but not as a cooper.
When he married Helena MIMMS in Newington, in 1888,  his occupation was a brewer. Over the next few years they had 7 children , losing 2 along the way, both under the age of a year. Over the next 20 odd years, his status declines from brewer, to brewer's labourer to machine minder in a brewery.





This old sepia photo shows Joseph and Helena and their six surviving children. The baby, Harry, was born in February of 1905. So that dates it.
(as an aside, ghostly Ada is the young child at the bottom).

In 1911 Joseph is found as a patient in Bermondsey Infirmary. Had he already contracted the T.B. that was to kill him later on? T.B was rife amongst the urban poor. (poster left  is from 1920s).  If so, he must have recovered as he lived on for another 12 years.

All three sons (Richard, Albert and Harry) go to war and thankfully come home safely. He appears on two London Electoral Registers, 1918 and 1920, living in Camberwell at 60, Heaton Rd, Peckham. (This area must have been bombed in WW2, as a walk on google maps shows new houses there).







And then, in March 1923, his beloved daughter Ada dies of pneumonia. He dies just two months later on 24th May. The family story says he died of a broken heart, but his death certificate says T.B..  He is buried with Ada in Nunhead Cemetery.





Friday, March 23, 2012

I want to tell you about my dad


I never knew my father DennisAll I had, growing up, was his absence, and the awkwardness, that results as a child, from not having a father. Sometimes this was cruel. I remember to this day a class teacher at primary school demanding to know, at dinner register time, WHY I had free dinners!! I had no idea why. I just knew we didn't have much money, received help from various organisations in the form of a hamper at Christmas, money on birthdays, plus visits from a rather nice man and woman on occasions...(turns out the help was from NALGO my dad's union) I'd internalised that all THAT was something to do with not having a dad, but other than that..... I remember bursting into tears and mumbling something about not knowing. I grew up, with a tiny photo of a man (whose identity I had obviously learned at some point), caught in the  corner of a mirror frame. We were taken as very small children to a grave (which later turned out to be his). We were NOT encouraged to talk about this empty space in our lives, or to ask questions. So what I now know, has been gathered up from the broken fragments that you amass during a lifetime.

The first significant event in this 'amassing' took place one wet and dark August afternoon when I was 13 or 14. Something had happened to alert my mum that I'd gone off the rails. She'd done the unthinkable and read my teenage diary. No need to go into details here, but, yes there had been some associations with boys, not always entirely innocent ones. How I'd expanded on events in my diary *may* be another matter altogether.(Years later in therapy I was told in no uncertain terms that my behaviour was completely normal for a teenager). Anyway, to get back to that pivotal afternoon I remember being confronted with the things she had read......I wasn't used to fighting my corner, undoubtedly I was quiet and sullen before the sobs began.....and then, in the midst of this, she thrust an envelope at me, and demanded that I should read its contents.

It was my father's suicide letter

On 11th August 1959 (it was a Tuesday I now find), my dad went off to a council meeting, and when it was finished he went to his office. He blocked off the windows and the doors. And then he turned on the gas. When he didn't return home as usual, anxiety eventually turned into action. My grandad (who was for some reason may already have been at our house, otherwise he was summoned), reverted into his former existence as a policeman, and a search was made. Events (as told by sisters and others over the years) led to the suicide note being found in a pocket of his jacket left hanging in the hallway at home, which in turn led to the police breaking down the door to his office, and finding him, beyond help.

They are the facts. Some of them were the angry, shouted soundtrack to my traumatic reading of the letter. (note: the handwritten letter my father left was actually taken away and replaced by this typewritten one. My mum was never shown the original - was something omitted from it to protect her?)

So, 'that' wet August afternoon must, almost certainly, have been the 11th August, the anniversary, and most probably the significant 10th anniversary. So 11th August 1969. 

By the end of that day, my adolescent fumblings were inexorably entwined with the suicide of my dad, and the guilt that inevitably went alongside it.

The remainder of my time before I left home at 18 to go away to college (which was inevitable under the circumstances, there was no chance I would settle down, marry and raise kids in my home town) consisted of an awkward 4 years, with battles and truces.  I wrote about my mum on Sunday, and said how hard it was after my sisters left home. The hardest period was from Nov 1972 when my middle sister married, to Sep 1973 when I went away to college. For there were just the two of us. Even the odd weekend visit home, and Christmas and Easter remained difficult. That's why, after my grandad died in May 1974, my 3rd term at college, I used to look forward so much to my nan Emma coming for the weekend. Amongst other things there was safety in numbers. My nan was a chatterbox, and filled up the awkward silences that my mum and I often endured.

Over the years, I have been able to talk a lot with my middle sister. She was able to tell me the story from her point of view. I was able to join the dots. It was she who confirmed the place of his death. Finally I understood why my mum was always most reluctant to take me to the library as a young child. The Sandringham Hotel was where the library was situated in the early 1960's. I loved going there, I was a voracious reader. I've always loved books. Why did she always seem to put off the beloved library visit? Well now I knew.


In subsequent years my mum and I continued to have an uneasy relationship. On the surface we got on well, but we didn't ever really talk or share confidences. I never went out of my way to relate things happening in my life. There was an evening a few years before she died, when she summoned the three of us, and said we could ask her whatever questions we had about our dad. We all duly went, but my memory of that evening was that one of awkwardness. It should have happened 30 years earlier. She told us that the reason his death was a taboo subject was the fault of her parents, who felt it shouldn't be talked about. She revealed that she, herself, had been unable to grieve properly because of them. They didn't allow it. Or rather my grandad didn't. By the time he died in 1974 we had all deeply buried our feelings. I feel so sad for her, writing these words.

After mum died in 2001, I immediately started to research my family history. She had done quite a lot on her own family, but not on my father's, nothing at all. She wanted me to have her family tree, on a roll of wallpaper, and also the photo albums. In addition I found old newspapers from the time of my dad's death. The whole, unread newspapers neatly folded. I have a large collection of wartime correspondence between my parents (which I still haven't read in their entirety) I also have the 1959 letter.

In looking into my family history, especially seeing all the photos, I have been able to somewhat 'flesh out' the man he was, or, more accurately, the child he was, as there are many, many photos from his childhood. The man remains a shadowy figure. To this day I do not have a single memory of him. I was told in therapy that the trauma had caused me to put up a wall.

There are some practical things I can still do. I want to go and read the transcript of that final council meeting on 11th August. Maybe there will be something there. Maybe I just want something concrete to show he was there. I also want to read the inquest papers. It was reported in the local paper but I'd still like to read the actual transcript.


Over the years I have felt the whole gamut of emotions including anger, abandonment, blame, loss, guilt, sadness and finally compassion. I now understand that he had no control over events. He was in that dark place that doesn't allow for logical, joined up thinking. I truly believe that it was impossible for him to have any concept of the effect his suicide would have on his wife and three children.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ok, this is what I know about Dennis my father



Dennis was born on 21 October 1921 at Station Rd, West Dereham to Geoff and Joyce
 
When Dennis was born my great aunt Millie and her husband Jack had been trying for a baby for 8 years. I don't know the circumstances but it was decided that Millie and Jack would have Dennis from Geoff and Joyce and bring him up. He went to Downham Grammar School and by all accounts did quite well. I have lots of pictures (including the blog photo at the top here) which show that he spent a lot of time with his grandma Jessie, as well as his aunt Mary.

dennis 




During the war he was in the RAF (he worked as a radio mechanic) and served in the Middle East. 

Dennis was married from Millie's house at 96, Bexwell Rd, Downham Market in August 1946. I also believe that my parents lived with Millie and Jack when they were first married. 





After the war he trained as a Public Health Inspector, and worked mainly in Wisbech. In April 1959 he started work for Hunstanton UDC. The family moved there at Easter 1959. 
He was never happy in Hunstanton, and a deep depression set in from which he never recovered.



He took his own life on 11th August of that same year at the Sandringham Hotel, which has since been demolished. (His office was situated there). He is buried in Downham Market cemetery. 
My next post will be one that I have been wanting to write for many years about how his death and absence affected our family, and me in particular.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day Joan

 Joan was born in Newcross, London on 12th Dec 1922, to Richard and Emma. She went to school in Ealing, then on to learn shorthand and typing (Pitman's). She moved up to Downham Market at the start of the war, and worked as a legal secretary for a local solicitor.

Her happiest memories before she married were paradoxically those of the war years spent living at the Chalet, the house her parents rented during the war. Cousins from London often came to visit as a respite from the war, especially her first cousin Thelma. They also had an evacuee called Rosie, who she often spoke of with fond memories. She had a difficult relationship with her father, who thwarted her longings to train as a teacher, but was close to her mother.
On August 3rd 1946, Joan married my father Dennis at Stow Bardolph church, Norfolk. They had their wedding reception at the Town Hall annexe in Downham. 

They had four children, the firstborn were twins, born in October 1948. Tragically, one died at the beginning of December that same year. My middle sister was born three years later in 1951, and I was born four years after that in 1955.

After my dad died in 1959, she was left with the three of us, all still at primary school, and became the sole wage earner. Living at the coast allowed for seasonal work, and for several years she worked as an ice cream trader in the summers, and took in washing for the large guest houses too. In later years, after we had all left home, she joined the canteen staff at the local high school.

She loved dogs, had them all her life, and had a particular favourite in older life, Sally, and was heartbroken when she lost her. 

 She had unrealistic educational  ideals for us as children. She constantly gave us 'tests' to make sure we were on target. I didn't mind them as I was quite a high flyer too. The thing I found very difficult was, that at school at exam time, she insisted on my recording all my friends' results to guage how well I was doing. I remember the horror of having to tell her about the 9% end of year history result! (And now I LOVE history!) I consistently changed the results for friends who had performed better than myself. We didn't have an easy relationship, especially after my elder sisters had left home. My adolescence had been difficult, and I shall write more about that when I write about my father in a few days time.

Nevertheless, I did love her and things did get easier between us as she got older, although she was still very intractible and we disagreed about many matters. She lived to the age of 78, and died of heart failure following a successful abdominal operation in 2001. Her ashes are buried at Old Hunstanton Churchyard.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My maternal great grandfather Robert

This is my nan Emma's father Robert CHAPMAN. Born in Wimbotsham to William and Ellen nee BONUS in 1858. Lived his whole life in Stow Bardolph. He worked for the Hare Estate as a general labourer, and also managed the cricket ground. He married Eliza CATCHPOLE in 1880 at the Primitive Chapel in Downham Market (above right).  When Robert was only 5, his mother Ellen died in childbirth..At the age of 13, in 1871, he is described as being in the Ely Militia Co 89. He and Eliza had six children together, plus Eliza's child she had before their marriage. They had four girls, (Emma, Daisy, Ada and Ellen) and two boys Edward and Frederick(whom I know very little about).


The picture to the left here shows Robert being poured a pint by Harry Sayles, landlord of the Hare Arms (and before you ask, noone in my family was ever landlord there!!!!)
 







My mum knew Robert well. She told me that he loved fishing and smoking his pipe. She remembered him as being "a nice old man".



 




I love this family group on the left c 1927. Robert is far right. Albert on the left, the three sisters Daisy, Emma, and Nell seated in the middle. The three children are from left to right, Daisy's daughter Marjorie, my mum, and my uncle Ray. I note that Eliza isn't present. The photographer? Only one person it can be!


Robert looked after his wife Eliza for the last years of her life, until she died in 1933. He then outlived her by ten years. He died in 1943. They are buried together in Stow Bardolph churchyard.



Friday, March 16, 2012

My nanna Emma

Emma
How could I have left her until now? This is my lovely maternal nanna Emma, born in 1891 in Stow Bardolph, Norfolk (you already know about two of her sisters Daisy (the postmistress) and Ada (sweet shop). Their parents were Robert and Eliza. (Note to self, Robert hasn't had a post yet either).

You HAVE met Emma before, here and here, but she hasn't had a posting all to herself. She went to primary school in Wimbotsham with Daisy and cousin Frank, walking along country lanes. Today the two villages are divided by the busy A10 trunk road., and is difficult to cross on foot. She is at home on only one census; in 1901, as a nine year old.


Stow Bardolph church

By 1911 she is 19 and in London, at 449, New Cross Road, Deptford and is described as assistant in a confectionary shop (not another one!) The puzzle is that the shop is owned by Griffith Cleaver Jones and his wife Laura Blanche, and Emma is apparently a cousin? Try as I might, I've not been able to find the Jones family anywhere on my family tree. Laura's maiden name was Smith (and she was a spinster so no clues there). They married in 1893 in Peckham.


By the end of February 1915 she is getting married to my grandad Richard (the photographer) at the  church of St Anne's in Bermondsey. I've chosen a photo of the church on a snowy day, as it's likely there may well have been snow on 28th February. Can you find out these things online?.... Pause for research........Apparently, yes you can! Ok, 28th Feb 1915 was a Sunday, that's the first surprise. I found an online diary set near Sheffield, and it snowed there that day but maybe not in London). 



Emma in doorway of The Chalet c1940

I now lose track of Emma in official records. There's a jump to October 1919 when she gives birth to my mum's only sibling, Ray. I have lots of photos of Emma when Ray was a small child. She gave birth to my mum in December 1922, but that was her last baby as far as I'm aware. In 1926 the Electoral Register shows them in Lewisham, and in 1932 in Hackney. The family lived in London until 1938 when it was obvious that war was coming. The story goes that when she married my grandad, it was on condition that they would 'one day' return to Norfolk. They moved back in 1938 to Downham Market (just 2 miles from her birth village). All I know nothing about her wartime experience is from the photos I have at their rented house, The Chalet.


This is how I remember my nan. She would have been 87 here. After my grandad died in 1974, she floundered for a long time. He had done everything that needed doing. She was lost without him. But, gradually, very gradually, she found that inner strength that allowed her to start to organise her life. She would get a taxi into town , get her hair done, then come on to our house for the weekend. On a Monday a taxi would pick her up, take her shopping, then home. I'm sure she felt very lonely for these four days each week. (I remember her saying she didn't see anyone from one day to the next) I loved her being at our house at weekends if I was there. It made a huge difference. She was kind, always genuinely interested in what I was doing, and always wanted to know the next morning,  if I'd gone out the night before, what I'd been up to.  How I wish I'd made notes about her life (I'm sure we all do!).

I did lose track of her towards the end of her life, and when she was dying, I refused to go and see her, for selfish reasons. For years I've agonised about her final demise, until my sister recently reassured me that even on the day she died she was alert and happy, (and even ate fish and chips). She died of kidney failure, at my mum's home, in January 1982, aged 91. Sadly, there's no grave to visit, as she was cremated in Norwich (Mintlyn wasn't yet open), and her ashes were scattered there.







Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back to the people again-my paternal grandparents

Joyce 
Geoff
 I've decided to get back to the people in my tree. After all they're the reason I'm here. Today I want to tell you about my grandparents Geoff and Joyce. Geoff was Charles and Jessie's son and Joyce was Harry and Fanny's daughter. So, very different backgrounds. Geoff left his rural Norfolk agricultural home to join the Coldstream Guards, rising to rank of sergeant. Joyce, born in London, and abandoned by her father at a very young age, followed in Fanny's footsteps and was pregnant at 19. Her first son Philip was born in 1919. The birth was registered at Newmarket. Another mystery.

I have no knowledge where or how she met Geoff. I do know that they married at Farnham Register Office in June 1921. Her address was given as Aldershot. This was where Geoff was stationed. His address on his marriage certificate was Barossa Barracks, Aldershot. Occupation Sergeant, 2nd Coldstream Guards. (Note to self - more research to be done here!!)

Geoff and Joyce Sep 1921, Boughton
 By the Autumn of 1921 they were in Norfolk, at this little cottage (right) in the small village of Boughton (below left).

Boughton, Norfolk
I loved finding this photo dated September 1921 and working out the dates to realise that my grandmother was very pregnant with my father who was born in October 1921.


I grew up without much contact with my grandparents. My father had died when I was only 4, and we lived a fair way away from my grandparents. Neither we, or they, had a car.  I expect because they were on my paternal side, my mum didn't feel the need to be as close to them, especially as both her parents were alive to support us, but I'm only guessing.

My outstanding (and only) memory of my grandparents is of the day that one of my uncles got married, which was on 30th July 1966. Does the date sound familiar? It should do. It was the final of the World Cup. What planning. At least our family went to the wedding.  I have some memories of the reception (but not the wedding itself). But the overiding memory was of playing out in the street with the other children from the wedding, whilst the rest of the family were indoors watching the television ! I never realised why until did my research. These connections that you make while researching are priceless to me. Other than World Cup Day I have no memories of my grandparents. Thinking about it now, we had loads more contact with my grandad's sisters than with him. As for my grandma, we knew nothing about her side of the family at all. This doesn't mean to say they were out of touch. I remember the Christmas thank you letters we had to dutifuly write before school started again in January. (I think they sent us money).

gravestone at Stoke Ferry
as a baby with my grandparents
My sisters, being older than me seem to have stayed in touch with my uncles. And since my mum died we have actually seen them a few times.

But, of course, that was too late to have a relationship with my grandparents. I have no memory of being told either Geoff or Joyce had died. My grandfather died the year I did my A levels. My grandmother died well after I'd moved to Downham in the mid 70s (and she was only a few miles down the road). It's sad that not being taught and encouraged to make relationships, then I didn't go ahead and forge them on my own. I HAVE been to their graves and left flowers. But it's not the same is it? I hope they forgive me and understand.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

and the rest of the Norfolk pubs-so far!!

For the last few days I've been hooked onto a pub thing. Having realised just how many people on my family tree were licensees gave me pause. In fact, the list doesn't end there with yesterday's in Wimbotsham. Here's the full roll call. Many thanks to the wonderful Norfolk Pub website for confirming census data.




The Red Hart in Crimplesham.
Licensee: Joseph HARPLEY 1861-1869.

Closed 30 Sep 1957.








The Carpenters' Arms in Denver.
Licensees: James and Sarah WATTS (nee JARROD) 1871-1879.

Closed in 1980s.






The White Hart, Downham Market.
Licensee:  Noah TURVEY 1896-1904.

Still open.








And a reminder of the ones I've already blogged about:





The Foldgate Inn, Stradsett.
Licensees: Arthur ADDERSON 1896, William ADDERSON 1900-1904, Mrs Sarah ADDERSON 1908-1912.

Still open.





The Chequers, Wimbotsham.
Licensee: Albert (Ben) CATCHPOLE 1948-1955

Still open.







The Rose and Crown, Hilgay.
Licensee: Alfred BRUCE 1900-1904

Still open.









Now for outside of Norfolk . No, I'll leave that for another day.  BUT  you do all remember the one mentioned here don't you?