“If we know where we came from,
we may better know where to go.
If we know who we came from,
we may better understand
who we are.”
It’s a journey that I’ve been making for many a year now.
My family’s history fascinates me.
Who where the people who gave us life?
Who where the couples whose love grow the seed of the future generations?
What are their stories?
What were their struggles and their joys?
Do I hold any similarities?
Do I have the same passion, the same will, the same beliefs?
Do I carry their strength, their determination, their spirit?
Who are they?
This is a journey, a quest even, that I have traveled since I was a wee 18 young girl, who needed answers to the most impossible questions.
It’s a journey, I’ve cherished, I’ve pulled deep into my heart.
An unthinking bond with spirits of our past.
I unconditionally love these people who gave me a change to live, who fought wars, battles, the slums, the blitz, the potato famine, the workhouse, the hardships, to give us the future, to give us life.
Those people are my heroes.
I’ve shared many a journey with my ancestors, I’ve discovered family shames, secrets, heartbreak and joys.
I’ve traveled their timelines, feeling every emotion with them.
There are a few family’s that pull on my heartstrings more than others, a connection so strong I’m baffled by its pull. The need to unearth every possible part of their history.
Some have been harder than others, some proving impossible to uncover but they have this hold over me, they have me hooked, line and sinker, I need to find out every tiny little detail about them.
What they looked like, what their personalities were, where they lived, how they died and where they were laid to rest.
One family whom has this hold, are my great, great grandparents on my mum’s, mum line.
They lived a life on the stage, singing, dancing and doing comedy. Yes I have a good few comedians in my family. How awesome is that. I now know who I got my dry, crude sense of humour from.
My great, great-grandmother had three children, two boys and a girl.
Two were born in a workhouse, the other was born actually in wedlock.
I can only imagine the shame that would have been brought down on her, I’ve lived that with you great, great Granny.
Why hadn’t she married the man who she loved?
Was it really a case that her father wouldn’t let her marry her sweetheart?
I sincerely believe that to be the case.
She married a few days after her father had past away.
She finally was able to love and cherish the man she loved. She got her happy ever after.
They had hard battles along the way, true heartbreak.
Her little girl died at the age of three.
This heartbreaking, devastation wasn’t known to the family until I pulled up the 1911 census.
The 1911 census is very different to the others, it’s the first to be completed by their own hand, it has much more information listed and there in black in white was her story of heartbreak, a heartbreak only those who have felt it, will truly understand. 😭
I could not leave it there, I needed to know her name and what had happened to this poor little tot.
And that’s where her journey entwined with mine.
I spent hours searching records, putting the pieces together and I found a birth that could possibly be hers, also a death that if I was right, would uncover her tragic story. A story that pulls so deeply at my heartstrings.
I ordered these two certificates not really knowing if I had discovered the right documents, it was a long shot, one worth taking. Thankfully I did and I now know her name, her birth date, her residences and the reason why she was cruelly taken from this world, leaving a hole in her parents hearts only fit for loving her.
I couldn’t leave it there, I needed to know where she was at peace.
That began a new journey in trying to find her resting place and you know what, I found it, I found this sleeping beauty’s place of rest.
She is buried at Islington cemetery, in a grave with 14 other people. How very sad that is.
Now at least, I can lay flowers on her grave, and she will know that she isn’t forgotten, she’s remembered and loved.
My dear aunty Eleanor, you will live on in my heart and you will always be remembered.
Sleep peacefully aunty El.
In our hearts you will remain, until the day we all meet again.