Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to Work

Three days pretty much lost to genealogy - nothing done at all! However, the days were most interesting and very family oriented which is not a usual thing with us in that our children are grown adults with their own lives. We enjoy our time with our children but also enjoy our time on our own probably because we were married for eight years before children and my mind goes back to those days of wild flower searching, birding, canoeing and hiking remembering them fondly. Our children always have first priority on our time but the rest of the time is all ours and mostly spent on genealogy. Why spend it on genealogy? Mostly because of this incredible desire borne of my trip to England in 2001 to understand my ancestral past.

I never experienced any "need to know" before 2001 and was quite content to let my various cousins write up the different lines. But now I would like to fit their work altogether along with my work and see where it takes me back in time. In the back of my mind I remember what my Grandfather told me about his Blake family (and his Knight family as he knew them quite well considering the distance apart and the dates involved) and I remember what my Grandmother said about her family which she mentioned more at the end of her life then when I was young.

I can remember after my grandfather died when I was eight years old that my grandmother said I didn't really love her until my grandfather died. He had lived with us until the last year or so and was a part of my daily life whereas my grandmother lived about a 20 minute bicycle ride away and I was too young to visit her. I can remember the first time I biked to her house. I didn't tell anyone I was going that far and it was just kind of a spontaneous decision. I knew that I had to travel down Windsor Avenue and cross over Wortley to get to her house but I was a bit lost and then I remembered the large Roman Catholic Church that was just down the street from her house and I was soon at 82 Dutchess Avenue.

The last time we were in London I went to look at her house and was shocked to see the overgrown weeds and the house looking much the worse for wear. It was immaculate when I was a child. She would be sad to see her wonderful garden all gone to weeds. But I digress. From the time I was turning nine I used to bike regularly to my grandmother's house and she would tell me stories at first about my grandfather (he had died when my mother was just eight years old) and then about my Canadian ancestors - little things that she knew. Then we talked about her English ancestors and some days she would say a lot and some days not a great deal. She was orphaned at 14 years when her father died and her mother had died when she was 11. The children were scooped up and put into Marston Green Cottage Homes (perhaps because her father was in the military or maybe just everyone was - I am unclear on that point). They were well taken care of and eventually the decision was made (I suspect that it was a mutual one on the part of the four children that were in the care of the Birmingham Union) that the four siblings of my grandmother would go to Canada.

My grandmother was by then working as a dressmaker having completed her apprenticeship as such and living with her Aunt Kate. She had an offer to stay with her father's three sisters who were by then living together (all widows) but decided to go to Canada since her siblings would all be there. Because one of my great aunts was too old to be placed my grandmother took charge of her in Canada and they lived together. It is a very long story that I must recite another time for my blog record but she would talk about that initially and then gradually she talked about her parents as she remembered them and their parents. She was vague on anything before that other than that her maternal grandfather and his ancestors were all shoemakers. The name Taylor and being a shoemaker was not an easy lookup in Birmingham but I have played away at that the last couple of years and once I find the marriage registration for Edwin Denner Buller and Ellen Taylor I will be able to prove the line that I obtained using family lore.

Today looks to be a sunny one here and perhaps less humid. The last two weeks have been warm with high humidity. Since this has been our first warm spell of the summer one doesn't like to complain at the oppressive humidity and it simply does not compare to real humidity that you find on Long Island!

I need to sit back a bit and think about what I am going to work on today. I have a number of need to do items but especially I need to be prepared to look at Great Driffield Parish Registers as they are now in at the Family History Centre. I am quite excited to have this film as it should help me with my Harland family there. Ann Harland married Richard Sproxton (of Hutton Cranswick) at Great Driffield 24 Dec 1753. Ann Harland was perhaps baptized 1 August 1731 at Great Driffield. She was the only Ann Harland baptized in a reasonable time frame and the daughter of Timothy Harland and Ann Wilkinson. Timothy and Ann had married at Great Driffield 24 Jun 1723. That much I learned at Salt Lake City but I did not pursue it further back when we were there as I was being firm not to go back further than 5x great grandparents in order to accomplish all of my goals. They were actually my 6x great grandparents so I exceeded the goal just that amount! Now I can have a look at the register and see if I can learn anything about the Harland and Wilkinson families. I will also look forward as the Sproxton family continued at Great Driffield for several generations.

Tomorrow we are going to make our Fruit Chili Sauce - 3 hours of boiling down all the vegetables fruit and we make about six jars at a time. We will do two lots. Later in the week I hope to get back to genealogy and will have a look at my Great Driffield parish register film at the Family History Centre. I will be looking at the Sproxton, Harland and Wilkinson families. I am back quite a ways now with these lines (5 x and 6x great grandparents). I hope to explore back to the beginning of this Parish Register. I am most fortunate in that it begins in 1566 so will be able to pursue these lines back 150 years if they were at Great Driffield. Of course Sproxton was not but Harland and Wilkinson may have been.

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