Funny things, families.
One branch of mine has always been a bit of a mystery, so a number of years ago, I decided to do my family tree. I have a very common surname so it is not the easiest thing to do, especially if you don’t have any information to start with.
When I was a child, I spent a huge amount of time with my paternal Grandfather, a quiet, gentle soul who loved to take me blackberry picking, and tell me stories. He and my grandmother were an odd couple. Where Granddad was sweetness personified, my Grandmother could be fierce and combative with an opinion she was never afraid to voice. When I was small, she had annoyed me so much one day, I walked down the road barefoot in the snow just to spite her.
Granddad and I never had a cross word. I revelled in his company and I remember him telling me to never be afraid to ask questions, advice which I took to heart and have probably annoyed a huge number of people as a result.
My Grandparents came from very different backgrounds, their relationship crossing the class divide. My grandmother came from a distinctly middle class family. Her father had his own business (although he started with nothing, and was probably not a wealthy man when my grandmother was born) and when he died, he owned two properties, had money in the bank and his business was in two premises.
My grandfather on the other hand came from a working class family. His mother was illiterate and his father an illegitimate Blacksmith Journeyman from Anglesey. The only thing I knew about him was that he was raised by his nain (Welsh grandmother). What came as a complete surprise to me when I asked my grandmother was that he was one of 5 siblings. I had always assumed he was an only child. This really piqued my curiosity and so I started digging.
There is only so much you can do with an illegitimate Jones, and I have hit brick walls a plenty. Then I came across a grave in which not only was granddad’s grandmother buried, but also his uncle and father. This led me to the date of their deaths.
Today, my great-grandfather’s death certificate arrived, and to my surprise there was an inquest. Now all I have to do is see if I can get hold of the records of the inquest to see what happened.
I do love a good mystery!