Week Five: 2022

I’ve been running around rabbit holes this week.

I blame David. He may be a friend but he got me thinking about the story of how my grandparents – mum’s mum and dad – came to marry. I will write about that. Like a lot of my family history there’s a bit of romance involved.

What sent me underground was an urge to firm up on my grandparent’s ages. I signed up to Ancestry a while back, mostly to help frame the Textiliste’s family tree and put a fair bit of flesh on mine. I found my grandmother’s birth details in 1896 but my grandfather was ‘abt 1889’ and ‘born in Surrey’. I gleaned that from the 1901 census where aged 12 he was living with his father and mother. So I rummaged. I logged into the births marriages and deaths and put in his name – Percy Francis – and the year with a +/- 2 either side and searched. Several Percy Francis but none born in Surrey. Tried Percival… nope.

You can add mothers maiden name so off I went down a rabbit hole. Mum told me she was Catherine Johanna Padgham and it didn’t take long to find her.

Nope. Didn’t help.

I doubled checked her details which caused a lot of blinking… according to the records Catherine married Benjamin Francis, my Great grandfather in 1894. By then the three children of whom Percy was one – his older brother Bernard and his younger sister May had been born.

Were they really illegitimate? Gosh.

Benjamin had been married before to Emma Brady – another bloody warren this – and according to the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses the two of them lived at various different addresses in Hanbury Street in London – where mum said he had his dressmakers – but with no children. Emma died in 1891.

Another partially collapsed burrow suggest Benjamin and Emma Francis had a boy James in Essex in 1871. No other indication? Did he die? I’ve not found the entrance to the burrow yet.

Mum told me Benjamin had twins by his first marriage but of that I’ve yet to find a sign.

Percy’s older brother Bernard I tracked via someone else’s research. Some umpteenth cousin of mine I guess. I have his exact date of birth, name and place of birth but the registry office and ancestry don’t have him. Another ghost.

And in some of the papers my brother the Archaeologist copied from his war record it shows Percy’s date of birth in June 1891, three years after the 1901 census…

I need to soak my brain in arnica. Maybe you’ve an idea. I hope the Archaeologist knows the answer. He usually does.

Instead I cooked. The Vet is hosting Sunday lunch and I’ve been commissioned to cook a square metre of focaccia. V soothing.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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17 Responses to Week Five: 2022

  1. Get Gordon going on it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always very time consuming digging up old relatives!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    This kind of research can be quite interesting, although frustrating. Keep at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. noelleg44 says:

    This type of research can be very frustrating. Hubs discovered he is a descendant of the Mayflower passenger John Howland but was told it could not be verified by the General Mayflower Society. Then he discovered a relative who had done research that WAS accepted and voila! he is now official.I find cooking is very soothing to frustration, too!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. JT Twissel says:

    I found a lot of information using census data but it can be confusing. It lists the people living in a household and they aren’t always family members. Birth dates are dependent on the reliability of the census taker!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mick Canning says:

    If Percy was illegitimate, he – and his brother and sister – would probably have been registered under his mother’s name. Never trust ages off a census but, uh, you already knew that. Have you got his marriage certificate? Will give his age and his father’s name.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My maternal grandfather was Percy too. An old-fashioned name of the type that sometimes gets revived – but not this one I suspect!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The hunt is always exciting. I hope you get to the bottom of your mystries!

    Like

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