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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Piecing it all Together - A Family Story Part 1

Much of the pleasure many family historians get when researching their family is from using detective skills to discover the truth.
We gather the evidence and piece it together so that using the genealogical proof standards we can say that given all this evidence this is what I believe to be the conclusion.
This Sunday see the start of DearMyrtle's Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2. I shall be one of the panelists and you will hear more from me then if you care to follow the hangouts on air see DearMyrtle's blog post [http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2014/02/mgp2-study-group-orientation-sunday-16.html].

I have one part of my husband's tree which has and still is proving difficult to  establish.
My husband's paternal gt grandmother died in Lincolnshire in the late 1960's at the age of 90.
On her death certificate the place of birth had been changed, from Gunby, Lincolnshire where she died, to Aldershot and her maiden name was recorded as Clark. This information came from her unmarried son who lived with her all his life. Her marriage certificate recorded her name as Elizabeth Agnes Clarke and her father as George Augustus Clarke whose occupation was Army Pensioner. The witnesses were Frederick Agustus Clarke, Samuel Gadsby, Jane Emma Gadsby and Ruth Avendar. Three of these were obviously relatives but what about the fourth one with a somewhat unusual surname.
I thought nothing more about a possible connection to the family maybe she was a friend or cousin.
Next to find Elizabeth on the 1901 census, she had married in 1900 and was found with her husband and eldest son and her birthplace recorded as Hants Farnboro. Farnborough is on the Hampshire/Surrey border near Aldershot which is known for its connection to the British Army and fits with information found on the death and marriage certificate. Both places are in the Hartley Wintney registration district and I found a birth registration for her and the copy birth certificate was obtained. The date of birth matched that given on the death certificate and the parents were George and Elizabeth Clarke late Perry formerly Flowers.
The index to the 1881 census was available on the Family search website and I found the family living in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Elizabeth had 2 older siblings Frederick and Rebecca the eldest age 5. This indicated a marriage 6 years earlier or possibly longer all the children were born in Farnboro so this was the first place to search for the parents marriage. George was recorded as being born in Ireland and his wife Elizabeth in Marston, Lincs.
Their marriage had taken place in Farnborough and the church record is now available on the Ancestry website. The copy marriage certificate which tallies with the church record indicates that both George and Elizabeth were widowed her surname at marriage was Perrey and their fathers were William Clarke Pensioner and William Flowers Labourer respectively. Ages were not recorded but both stated they were of full age.
So far things are straightforward. It was relatively easy to pick up Elizabeth on the earlier census with her parents. She is recorded in the 1851 census as Eliza Flowers living in Marston, Lincolnshire.
The marriage to George took place in 1874 so I needed to find her in the 1861 and 1871 census.
I also needed to find her marriage to the first husband a Mr Perry/Perrey.
Who was George Clarke's deceased wife?
Were there any children from the previous marriages?
There were no older children on the 1881 census what had happened to any children from previous marriages?
It may have been at this point that I made contact with a fellow researcher. She is a distant cousin, a descendant of William Flowers by a brother of Eliza/ Elizabeth. She sent me a skeleton tree that she had built of the family and I set out to confirm what she had sent was correct.
At the time I was doing this research there were much less digital records available online and I had limited time to make research trips.
I shall continue this in my next blog post.


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